Rough Cutt at The Whisky

Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt

Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt

Rough Cutt, Permacrush, Ampage, Hipnostic, Stereo Love, The BrosQuitos, The Whisky, November 25, 2016

There was absolutely no better way to enjoy a Black Friday in November than attending Rough Cutt’s phenomenal club show at the legendary Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Recent performances included a private affair at The Avalon in Hollywood followed by a much anticipated appearance on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise.

Featuring the participation of all five original bands members (Paul Shortino on lead vocals, David Alford on drums and vocals, Chris Hager on guitar, Matt Thorne on bass, Amir Derakh on guitar), Rough Cutt unveiled a very up close and personal show at The Whisky, rocking out hard and heavy, bringing back the glory days and crowd favorites in an epic way.

In addition to the return of the almighty Rough Cutt, there were five up and coming bands of various genres, all demonstrating that our local music scene is alive and well, teeming with talent. Appearing on The Whisky stage were Permacrush, Ampage, Hipnostic, Stereo Love and late additions The BrosQuitos.

It was a long and glorious night filled with terrific music and rock and roll memories. Here is a rundown of what commenced at The Whisky on the evening of November 25th…

dx0a6610The BrosQuitos

First up on the menu at the rock and roll breakfast hour of 7:00PM were The BrosQuitos, performing their own exhilarating brand of indie-alternative pop. Not what you would normally expect to see within an opening slot at a Rough Cutt show, but The BrosQuitos nevertheless impressed the early arrivals with their superbly infectious collection of songs. Making the two hour drive for their hometown of Desert Hot Springs, The BrosQuitos set was a vibrant commencement to what would be a gloriously eclectic night of music.

Highlights of the live show included No Milk, Don’t Throw A Fit, See Right Through and their rambuctious ITunes single Here Or Anywhere. The young yet immensely talented membership of The BrosQuitos consists of James Johnson on lead vocals and guitar, Max Powell on bass, Hugo Chavez on drums, and John Clark on lead guitar. You can bet Highwire Daze Online will be revisiting The BrosQuitos in the near future! Be sure to check this exciting new band the next time they show up to play here in City Of Angels!

The BrosQuitos on Facebook

dx0a6682Stereo Love

As the sounds of The Partridge Family Theme started ringing through the Whisky, you knew it was time for the one and only Stereo Love to take over the stage. Referring to themselves as a “family rock band,” this wonderful trio of relations work extremely well together, giving their audience a vibrantly entertaining show. The band opened with an imaginative cover of the Harvey Danger song Flagpole Sitta, and instantly gained the undivided attention of the Whisky crowd. In addition to their sassy but classy rendition of Fox On The Run by The Sweet, Stereo Love’s own original songs were just as fun to hear! Rock And Roll Addiction, Not Me, and What Do You Want were extremely memorable and surely garnered the bands some new fans!

Stereo Love consists of two sisters, Jewel Steele (18 y/o) on vocals and guitar and Lula Steele (19 y/o) on vocals and bass – both very talented and charismatic. On drums is their dad Judd Steele, who has been in more bands that you could even mention, bringing his own music biz experience and solid rhythms into the proceedings. Stereo Love will rock your socks off and have you singing along to each and every song. With influences ranging from pop, classic rock, glam, punk, and a whole lot more sonic goodness, Stereo Love possesses a distinctive, highly refreshing sound that even the most jaded of music fan will surely enjoy.

Stereo Love on Facebook


Up next was the supremely dark and heavy power trio Hipnostic, who clearly captivated the burgeoning crowd with a raging set of tunes. Inspired by the likes of Godsmack, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, Hipnostic weaves their own brand of sonic intrigue that dazzles the senses. Based out of the OC and ready to take apart out the Sunset Strip, Hipnostic’s live performance was devastating to behold. In addition to their own powerhouse originals, Hipnostic unleashed a potent rendition of the Bill Wither’s classic Ain’t No Sunshine, placing their own toxic impressions into the heart of the matter. Closing with the dynamic Blister, Hipnostic cleverly tossed in snippets of songs of the almighty Black Sabbath for maximum effect.

The sonic rock reveries were skillfully presented courtesy of Blake Hastings on lead vocals and guitar, Rob Swanson on bass and vocals, and Marty Wilcox on drums. A thoroughly impressive performance leaving quite an impact on those hell-bent on seeing Rough Cutt, Hipnostic is a compelling band that is well worth experiencing in a live setting. Expect to see Hipnostic headlining their own club shows soon!

Hipnostic on Facebook


Ampage has been around for 38 years, and has released seven albums and somehow have been under the radar of the music aficionados here at Highwire Daze Online – until now! Lead vocalist / guitarist Mark Mason is a true visionary, and has a cadre filled with dynamic songs to back it all up. In addition to the fiery performance of front man Mark Mason, the thoroughly impressive Ampage lineup consists of Mark Pearce on lead guitar, Bill Stokem on bass, and Jason Fish on drums. Their recent release is entitled Bridge Of Souls, and it’s a recording well worth seeking out.

In a live setting, Excuse Me has a wicked attitude that is deliciously endearing. 100 Years All New People was an inspiring highlight, as the band looks towards the future with a keen amount of wit and cynicism. And the closing number Plain White Rapper has Mason singing and rapping with the unique storytelling effectiveness of a Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen. The entire performance was dedicated to Michael Kroeger, their longtime drummer who passed away from leukemia right before the release of Bridge Of Souls.

It’s always thrilling to uncover a massively talented band such as Ampage within the ranks of our local Los Angeles music scene. It was even more exciting to find we would be witnessing Ampage once again, opening the very next night for Dokken at The Rose Theater in Pasadena! Even at these 38 years, Ampage remains a creative, intriguing force within the L.A. scene and beyond.

Ampage on Facebook


Getting tired after the countless opening bands? I don’t think so! Especially when you have the high voltage Permacrush ready to take over the Whisky stage! Kicking off their set with a heavy dosage of Major Dis, Permacrush were ready to rock your world with their sweet and rollicking anthems. Starstruck, Love 2 Hate U and the raunchy Bottlerocket certainly sealed the deal with the audience, showing a collective ready to set the venerable Whisky into sonic overdrive. One of the most memorable songs in the set was the highly infectious and humorously titled Dirty Looks (From Six Foot Models) – a killer cut that should be all over the radio airwaves. Only Friend was another top song that left a lasting impression on The Whisky throngs.

With wide array of influences ranging from Guns ‘N’ Roses, Nirvana and well beyond, Permacrush has something for everyone – including songs that will jangle around in your head for ages. The rowdy good times from Permacrush were brought to you by Chris Crush on vocals and guitar, Robert Cruz on bass, Alex Tuccio on drums and vocals, and Brett Baugh on lead guitar. A terrific main support act for the oncoming Rough Cutt!

Permacrush on Facebook

Chris Hager of Rough Cutt

Chris Hager of Rough Cutt

Rough Cutt

And now it was time for Rough Cutt to tear up the Whisky a Go-Go stage, and their very much anticipated live performance was nothing short of mesmerizing. 2016 finds Rough Cutt fully energized and ready to take on the rock and roll world at large. Opening with the raging refrains of Take Her, Rough Cutt sent the crowd into orbit with an entire set of timeless songs culled from their two classic major label recordings.

Witnessing these fine musicians in action was absolutely inspiring! Paul Shortino remains a captivating front man with impassioned vocals that send the songs into the stratosphere of hard rocking greatness. The amazing Chris Hager was all over the stage, exuding a tremendous amount of energy while unleashing some pretty extraordinary axe work. Amir Derakh also impressed with his massive guitar skills. David Alford on drums and vocals, and Matt Thorne on bass were supremely tight, exuding a grand amount of hard rocking rhythm section perfection.

Don’t Settle For Less remains an anthem for the ages that will truly makes you believe you can achieve absolutely anything in life. And the Rough Cutt classics kept right on enveloping The Whisky – tunes such as Cutt Your Heart Out, Black Window, and Rock The USA raging to an ultra-vivid life and making the audience go absolutely wild while singing along with raised fists in the air. And if seeing Rough Cutt blowing the ruff off The Whisky wasn’t enough to send you into cardiac arrest, the appearance of the legendary Robin McAuley off McAuley/Schenker fame on the song We’re Stars certainly launched you into a galaxy of sheer auditory bliss. Another memorable night within the hallowed walls of the Whisky a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Here’s hoping we hear a lot more from Rough Cutt in the hard rocking ages ahead!

Rough Cutt on Facebook

(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

1 Comment
  1. Dave In LA 2 years ago

    Rough Cutt rocked !!!
    I also liked Stereo Love warm-up band. They are going places !!!

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