Ultimate Jam Night 63 with Dizzy Reed, Tracii Guns, Leif Garrett and more, The Whisky, May 17, 2016
It was the 63rd edition of Ultimate Jam Night, now taking place at the legendary Whisky on the Sunset Strip – and this would certainly be an event to remember for all who made their way into the wilds of West Hollywood on a Tuesday. You never know who is going to show up to perform at the jam nights, and this first one attended by the Highwire Daze crew would be a perfect introduction to the music and mayhem at hand.
Opening the show on was the sublime Switch Gear Six, a local rockabilly band who presented an imaginative selection of original and cover tunes. Dazzling performances from all involved including Brandley Hayman on Baritone Guitar/Vocals, Brandon Burns on Trumpet, Joel Morin on Guitar/Vocals, Donna Schwartz on Saxophone, Fernando Silva on drums, and Sonia Sanchez on standup bass and vocals. An exhilarating way to kick off what was going to be an epic night of all-star entertainment.
After a wickedly ferocious introduction from the one and only Trippy The Clown, it was time to meet the various members of the house band – and what a tremendous starting lineup this would be! Kicking it all off front was Matt Starr from Mr. Big and Ace Frehley. On guitar from the Edgar Winter Band and MSG – Mitch Perry. On keys, the multi-instrumental talent from the band Survivor – Walter Ino. On bass –the creator of Ultimate Jam Night – from the Ultimate Jam Night house band, Quiet Riot, Alice Cooper, Montrose, and many more…Chuck Wright!
Joining in to help out on drums was Jason Sutter from Marilyn Manson and Smashmouth. Opening with Train Kept A Rolling by Aerosmith, Matt Starr did the lead vocals before making his way back to the drums. Your host with the most Paulie Z took on the raging lead vocals for the next song Back In The Saddle (Aerosmith again) and then spent the rest of the night introducing the talent and giving away prizes such as t-shirts and headphones. An affable host who does a wicked Steven Tyler to be sure!
There were so many thrilling highlights of the night. In the first set, Joe Retta of The Sweet and Dio’s Disciples, as well as Marty O’Brien of the Lita Ford band took over the stage to perform a powerful version of Rainbow In The Dark, as we all took a moment to recognize it’s been six years since the passing of the legendary Ronnie James Dio. What a magical and poignant moment in time this was! The funk and soul genre would soon enrapture The Whisky with a star making lead vocal performance from Debby Holiday, who made the classic song Ain’t Nobody all her own. 70’s teen idol Leif Garrett would then join Debby onstage for a steaming hot version of Rod Stewart’s Hot Legs. Debby is destined for superstardom, especially if performances such as these are indicative or greater glories ahead. Leif then went on to perform a smooth rocking rendition of the Eagles’ In The City.
Closing out the first set was a raging four pack of tunes from Tracii Guns (ex-LA Guns) and band, including Rock Candy and Over The Edge. Tracii remains one of the most compelling guitarists within the LA music scene, and his brilliant axe work was fully on display at the Whisky. Fantastic performances from all members of The Tracii Guns Band, featuring Shane Fitzgibbon on drums, Johnny Martin on bass, and Michael O’Mara on vocals. By the way, Tracii is part of a collective called Devil City Angels whose Self-Titled debut on Century Media Records is a rock and roll extravaganza well worth seeking out!
Kicking off the second set was a special appearance by Dizzy Reed from the iconic Guns N’ Roses, on keyboards and vocals, captivating the Ultimate Jam Night attendees with classic rock faves such as Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting and Sympathy For The Devil. Although the hour was beginning to become a rather late one, the packed house sang along to each and every song! And the party was far from over as Dewey Bragg from Kill Devil Hill and Monte Pittman from Prong and Madonna would be joined by Mike Dupke from John Mellencamp and WASP, as well as Mark Klepaski from Breaking Benjamin and Vysces for a blasting one-two punch of Flying High and Would!
The Ultimate Jam Night would continue on well past the midnight hour, showcasing vast and underrated talent for those who stayed until last call. Not sure why it took 63 times before Highwire Daze would attend, but make no mistake about it – Ultimate Jam Night at The Whisky is a rocking celebration presented by vibrant world class talent that is not to be missed!
Watch for interviews with Ultimate Jam Night’s Chuck Wright and Matt Starr – coming soon to Highwire Daze Online!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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