Ultimate Jam Night #149: The Art Of Instrumentals, The Whisky, April 10, 2018
I would have to use every word available to describe every type of music covered at the 149th Ultimate Jam Night. However, I don’t have a dictionary beside me and you don’t have the time to read different arrangements of the 171,476 words in existence. Besides words weren’t necessary at the purely instrumental jam night at Hollywood’s famous Whiskey A Go-G
The absence of vocals meant only the abundance of elation. The night began with a hasty introduction to a haze of blazing talent. Heavy Mellow began to the tune of thunderous applause. Soft tunes did justice to their heavy set list as they moved from Metallica covers to more Metallica covers. Ben Woods carried the show with the carrying of his guitar. Plucking his strings, he struck chords with every audience member! Pure stimulation!
Open ears tuned into quick transitions as the night turned into the next set. No time was wasted as seconds warped into minutes with the wavy distorted sounds of Focus’s Hocus Pocus played by Jimmy Keegan, Walter Ino, Mitch Perry, Adi Argelazi, and even the emcee, Paulie Z. The sounds of Asia, the Sweet, Alice Cooper, and White Witch morphed into a sound that sounded unlike any other. Every tone felt special and anchored to that specific moment in space and time. It’ll never be 9:54pm on April 11th at the Whiskey ever again! Hands silenced themselves in awe of Mitch Perry’s. The crowd fell silent as his fingers did what they do best: amaze.
Only at The Whisky can you find a second peak at the top of a mountain! Tired and tuckered out from a stage crowded with talented insanity, audience members gazed in a daze at Walter Ino’s incredibly incredible guitar solo from the 1990 Ah Via Musicom Album. The album is most famous for winning the Grammy’s “Best Rock Instrumental Performance,” but is probably more famous now for tiring out every tapping foot that night.
Paulie Z strummed the clock backwards with Rush’s 1978 classic La Villa Strangiato. Beside him was Ben White, who proved that heavy metal is malleable enough to tame down to the complex crescendos demanded by this 9 minute ditty. This odyssey of a melody was followed by The Disreputable Few, who, like the other bands of bandits, stole the show from those who had stolen the show. Randy Ray Mitchell held the whole world moment after moment as his hair pointed down to the source of his power. From Bang Tango and Little Caesar, Mark Temalgia brought his talent and nostalgia for the easy crashing melodies of the Allman Brother’s Filmore East Live Album.
Who knew smooth could be so hard? Katja Rieckerman did and does and showed us how she does it. She brought the crowd into her saxophone with every breath. Leading her eponymous band, Rieckerman pointed us into Andreas Geck’s trumpet and then into Julia Gralle’s trombone. Every one brought their own flavor in what began like a battle for our attention and then turned into a melodious amalgamation of auditory overload. Carefully constructed chaos.
Heaven opened up to let us borrow the sounds of the Buzz Wizards guided by the controlled Toshi Yanagi. No matter how fast her fingers carved through her nylon, Mini Carlsson, from Gov’t Mule, always kept her face focused on what was to come. Constant expectation made for never-ending excitement.
The rounded repetition of The Buzz Wizards was whipped through with every whip of Ira Black’s hair. Moving forward and back and up and down and north and south and left and right, Ira’s head led the head bangers through Dokken’s Mr. Scary. The only thing that could keep up with his whirling, wailing, and whipping was the audience’s attention. Ira Black, Son’s of Mercury’s Charlie Lome, Ben Lerner and Ben White seemed to play faster than the speed of sound since everyone processed their music after their magnificent presence.
The night continued into the morning with legends like Scott Breadman, Jack Russell’s Great White’s Dan McNay, and The Chimpz’s Doug Weiland combining and recombining to form, deform, and reform different groups for different styles. The night’s spontaneity allowed it to reinvent itself. Not one moment fell into boredom. Not one head forgot to bob. Not one foot forgot to tap. Not one soul forgot to feel. Who knew there could be so much new?
(Review and Photos by Chris Vinan)