Tues April 17, 2018
There was something in the air; you could practically cut with a knife… Maybe it was something I had not smelled in sometime… I could not quite figure out why my eyes were watering… Then it hit me… AQUANET!!! It was obvious the Whisky A Go Go was in the midst of its 80’s Hair Band flashback Ultimate Jam Night!!! Makeup was everywhere… A dead ringer for Nikki Sixx and Spicolli were making their rounds, Paulie Z, was his very own special version of Sybil (if you don’t know, it look it up) conjuring every bad hair style and outfit his Halloween budget could muster up! We were in for a fun evening!
The night began with one lone opener, which really lends itself to getting to know the artist much better than with a three and done set. Black Velvet is a local female fronted five piece featuring Melissa K, Eddie Ramos, Christian Vieyra, Craig Pirtle, and Tyler Renga. They were as entertaining as any of the previous openers have been for UJN. The singer and lead guitarist were inseparable performing acrobatics all the while staying on time and without even breathing heavy. The songs were joyful and powerful, another words, and it was fun and got the crowd ready for the night ahead. Looking forward to seeing and hearing this five piece again, soon.
If the night did not begin with a blast from the house band every week, I think the crowd would be dumbfounded and disappointed. So thankfully they did not disappoint… Featuring, throughout the night, a special guest as second guitar was the guitar virtuoso Miles Schon (yeah, son of that legendary Schon family), and our UJN family members Paulie Z, Chris Ralles, Chuck Wright, and Mitch Perry. Opening with the iconic late eighties youth anthem of rebellion, “Youth Gone Wild,” by Skid Row.
Albeit a major hit in my book, Warrant’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was almost too good for the once big haired, BC Rich air brushed matching guitar, choreographed Sunset Strip stalwarts. It never quite surpassed hits like I Saw Red, Heaven, DRFSR, or of course Cherry Pie. I was super stoked for them to cover this song!
How can a night based on 80’s fun times rock n’ roll go without the mighty guitar driven Van Halen? It cannot, so of course it did not. “Mean Street” helped Van Halen go double platinum and one of the must have albums of all-time. Michael Olivieri (Leatherwolf), Steve Wilson (Heaven & Earth), Sean McNabb, and Stephen Chesney (Waking Jonah), did their thing to bring back the energy from 1981.
The entire evening could have been focused on every track from the groundbreaking “Appetite for Destruction”, and 99.9% of everyone in attendance would have been just fine, in my humble opinion. Yet, they focused on “Mr. Brownstone” which was rocked by Stephen Chesney on guitar, Jacob Bunton (Lynam/Adlre), Steve Wilson, Sean McNabb, and Danny Hechter (Paulie Z & the Royals).
Like “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, this next song is a fan favorite more so than the critics… “Sweet Cheater” by Hollywood’s very own RATT. In an unprecedented run of musical “rookies of the year,” RATT took the fledgling MTV generation by storm. Performed with attituode and skill by Gabriella DeMarco (Riot Brides), Greg D’Angelo (White Lion), Jazz Limbo (Riot Brides), Brandon Paul (Stonebreed), and Abby Gennet (Riot Brides/Stunt).
There are songs that are arguably very uncool to like, especially when you claim to love, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, and Metallica… “Wait” by White Lion was one of them… Vito’s guitar abilities were compared to many of the best of the era… The vocals were also not the easiest to replicate… So when Hal Sparks (Talk Soup/Comedian/Actor) joined White Lion’s Greg D’Angelo, Gilby Clarkes’ band EJ Curse, Brandon Paul, and Michael Martinsson (acoustic) I waited… get it, waited… Sure enough you can legitimately add vocalist to Hal’s many talents… NAILED IT!
The next group of musicians, included House Band members Chris Ralles, Chuck Wright, Mitch Perry, Billy Idol’s Jimmy Burkard, and David Yuter (Tomasina) fronted by the New York’s amazing Rachel Lorin took on one of the mid-late 80’s super group’s biggest hits Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night.” Slayed that serpent!
Just nights after the real deal took the stage, the same artists tackled Tom Keefer’s Cinderella hit, “NoBody’s Fool.” Included on stage was of White Witch’s very own Adi Argelazi, playing the flute.
When you are the offspring of one of rock n’ rolls early pioneers, WAIT (I did it again) heck if I know… I would be making stuff up here. It may have totally sucked as much as it ruled! Nelson, as the twins called themselves, became Number 1 artists in their own right. Spawning a number of hits, becoming MTV featured platinum selling artists. They made their way back to the Whisky to hit us with their signature tunes. They have had a successful career outside of rock, so they didn’t miss a beat on stage… “After the Rain/Love & Affection.” Performed by Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, Brian “Dogboy” Burwell, and Howie Simon.
Next on stage, were, arguably, SoCal’s premier 80’s tribute bands, Fast Times. Covering two of the 80’s biggest arena bands hit’s Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.
“Rock You Like a Hurricane” performed by house band members and Paulie Z, Miles Schon, Michael Martinsson, and special guests Tiny Biuso (BulletBoys), and Ralph Rieckermann (Scorpions).
The band remained on stage, but this time joined by Budderside’s Patrick Stone for a deeper cut by the Scorps, “The Zoo.” What a great choice, not one covered all the time.
Running out of room here… “Mista Bone” performed by Jack Russell’s Great White: Tony Montana (Guitar/Vox), Dicki Fliszar (drums), Dan McNay (bass) Another “Rookie of the Year,” from the Sunset Strip Dokken’s “It’s Not Love” August Zadra (Vox), Tony Montana, Dicki Fliszar, and Dan McNay. Another Cinderella classic “Shake Me” Hal Sparks, Russell Gilbrook (Uriah Heep), Davey Rimmer (Uriah Heep), Chris Hager (Rough Cutt), and August Zadra. Strangely this is the ONLY Motley Crue song of the evening “Kick Start my Heart” Patrick Stone, Russell Gilbrook, Davey Rimmer, and (Knee High Fox).
Being a bit old school, getting to see Ms Betsy Bitch, of the appropriately named band, Bitch may have been my highlight. She, the queen of the Sunset Strip, handled the vocals for the Queen of Hair Metal’s Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly.”
MTV favorites Slaughter’s break out hit “Up All Night.” The late 80’s saw the decline of the hair bands, this band was caught in the cross fire, they should have lasted longer. Francis Cassol (Paul Dianno), Louis Metoyer (Zeus), Chris Hager, and on vox Lisa Margaroli (Lou Graham/Juliette Lewis).
Poster children for the hair metal movement was of course Poison. “Talk Dirty to Me” off of Look What the Cat Dragged in confused countless of metal doods and chicks alike… It mattered not, they were here to stay!!! Performed by Mick Scott, Forrest McKinnon, Zeus, and Danny Hechter
Lastly the evening was brought to an end with RATT’s “Round and Round.” This song is arguably, the break out video for all metal bands pre Head Bangers Ball on MTV. “Uncle Milty’s” characters brought some creditability to this fledgling band from Los Angeles. Most of UJN’s house band returns along with Howie Simon.
MAentGlobal will need to learn to schedule day jobs a bit later. You may think I just copied and pasted this last part, but it is true… “The song selections were some of the most entertaining so far, IMO… 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘 for sure!” My list would have included a few others, but there is only so much time on a Tues night. Until the next UJN, which is tomorrow! Rolling Stones, I’ve some good things about these guys.