Ultimate Jam Night 64 with Scotti Hill, Jacob Bunton, Nick Menza Tribute and more, The Whisky, May 24, 2016
It was Tuesday night in the wilds of West Hollywood, which of course could only mean one thing – it was time was another Ultimate Jam Night Showcase at the world famous Whisky A Go Go! Now up to its 64th celebration of local, national and international talent, Ultimate Jam Night gives you more cluck for your buck – meaning you could see a whole lot of your favorite musicians playing for free. As host Paulie Z stated halfway during the show, “It’s hard to tell who is having the most fun – the performers or the audience.” There is certainly an excitement and energy to be found at any Ultimate Jam Night, and Tuesday, May 24th would be no exception. Right before the jam commences, there are usually local openers – and on this special night there were two!
With two members original from Israel and two from here in the States, Secret Black is the perfect amalgamation of talent – and they certainly rocked the early arrivals with their hard driving tunes. The second support act bills themselves as “America’s Number 1 Beat Band” – that would be LA’s own The Outta Sites – who brought the party to the Whisky in an epic way. Featuring old fashioned rock and roll, two sexy dancers in 50’s costumes and a dancing Tiki head in the audience, The Outta Sites definitely grabbed the attention of a club crowd, in a room that was quickly filling up quickly.
Kicking off with an appearance of the endearing Trippy The Clown and his wicked wit, you knew it was now time for the Ultimate Jam Night to commence. Paulie Z would now introduce the house band – and what an impressive lineup to be sure – Matt Starr from Ace Frehley and Mr. Big on drums and vocals! Mitch Perry from the Edgar Winter Band and MSG on guitar! Walter Ino from Survivor on keys and more! And the founder of Ultimate Jam Night – the one and only Chuck Wright – from Quiet Riot, The Alice Cooper Band, Montrose and so on! Just this lineup alone is well worth checking out, and they opened up the night with a dynamic version of The Doors’ classic Break On Through To The Other Side! It is well known Whisky lore that Jim Morrison and The Doors played at the venerable Sunset Strip establishment, rendering this superb opening number very symbolic indeed.
The thrilling performances just kept on arriving, with top guest appearances including Joe Retta of Dio’s Disciples and Heaven & Earth, Mike Dupke from WASP and John Mellencamp, Anthony Tiny Biuso from TSOL and the Cadillac Tramps, Michael Klooster from Smashmouth, Chas West from Bonham and Foreigner, Monte Pittman from Prong and Madonna, David Chili Moreno from Puddle Of Mudd – and this was all within the first 45 minutes of the show!
Even in spite of technical difficulties, I must say Jacob Bunton of Adler and Lynam was the perfect choice to sing the New Wave standard White Wedding – and what made this performance especially memorable was that Bunton found himself backed up by bassist Steve McGrath and guitarist Jimmy Burkhard – both whom have played in Billy Idol’s band!
The passing of Nick Menza from Megadeth and OHM has been on the minds of many a music fan. And what a wonderful tribute Ultimate Jam Night would offer for the extraordinary drummer who inspired many through his music. Paying tribute to Nick Menza was the lineup of Tim Yeung from Morbid Angel on drums, Ben White from Magnetico on bass, Doc Coyle from God Forbid on guitar, and Howie Simon of Alcatrazz, Jeff Scott Soto, Nelson, and the Eric Martin Band on guitar and vocals. This mighty collection of talent unleashed a thrashing version of Megadeth’s Symphony For Destruction – and what a wonderful moment in time this was – definitely the kind of lasting memory that has made Ultimate Jam Night so exceptional!
Had enough rock star power for the night? I think not! It was now time to introduce Scotti Hill – an original member of Skid Row ready to rip it up on guitar. Debby Holiday performed the first Skid Row cut I Remember You, once again demonstrating why this wonderful vocalist should be signed and playing in the big leagues! Then it was time for a raging rendition of Monkey Business, where the Skid Row guitarist was joined onstage by Kirsten Rosenberg (vocals) and Nikki Stringfield (guitar) of The Iron Maidens, guitar virtuoso Brad Jurjens, and Lyndsey Martin (formerly of The Aviators) on drums. And then for the Skid Row grand finale, the charismatic Jacob Bunton returned to the stage with Monte Pittman and Matt Starr – and unleashed a stratospheric performance of Youth Gone Wild. From Billy Idol to Skid Row, Jacob Bunton certainly delivered the goods! Here’s hoping we see Bunton return to LA soon with Adler, Lynam or both!
And what better way to end the night than bringing back the House Band for a rousing version of the KISS classic Rock And Roll All Night with your host with the most Paulie Z on lead vocals?! A tremendous conclusion of yet another stunning chapter of Ultimate Jam Night! Be sure to check out Ultimate Jam Night 65 at The Whisky on June 7th!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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