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SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW Anniversary party in parking lot puts exclamation point on retro-rock weekend



Anniversary party in parking lot puts exclamation point on retro-rock weekend


GG_Signature_July_2015._1HOLLYWOO, Calif., USA — An action-packed weekend of retro rock was capped Sunday in grand fashion with the 44th annual Rainbow Bar & Grill Anniversary party, where about 1,000 revelers packed not just the legendary restaurant/club but the parking lot, too, as L.A. Guns, Autograph, Junkyard, Tuff, Circus of Power and others performed in succession beginning in the early afternoon.

It was fun to see all the Rainbow regulars share a common bond in live music, as a bunch of rock and roll royalty stars like Carlos Cavazo showed up — all of ’em eager not just for the music but the famous pizza, the stiff cocktails and of course a chance to greet founder Mario Maglieri, 93 and still going strong.

LAG_MG_JS_Rainbow_Party_April_17_2016_2L.A. Guns and Tuff, particularly, grew up on the Sunset Strip, having worked their way from playing the Whisky, Roxy and Gazzarri’s to signing full-scale record deals, touring the world, and in L.A Guns’ case, selling millions of records.

That’s why L.A. Guns was the headliner of course, though this current version that features singer Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley does NOT include founding guitarist Tracii Guns, who is doing his own thing.

Both bands were popular on MTV. L.A. Guns had a string of hits like “Never Enough” and “Ballad of Jayne,” and Tuff became a household name thanks to “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye,” a No. 1 video back in the day.

L.A. Guns now employs the services of guitarist Michael Grant, who has the look, the style and the dexterity to pull it off — not the easiest gig in rock. His solos cut their way through the evening air, as the leather-clad crowd pushed its way to the stage

Tuff_Rainbow_April_17_2016_2Tuff, featuring Rachelle (in full disclosure, he is the Sludge CEO) and fellow original Todd “Chase” Chaisson (bass), benefited from the presence of guitarist Billy Morris, a semi-regular best known for his stint in Warrant during the Jani Lane era.

Morris, blond and young-looking, definitely adds a positive element. He was totally on his game, too.

On “Good Guys Wear Black,” the crowd was singing along just as they did in 1989. On “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye,” all the girls were shaking their booties like nothing had changed over a generation since red lipstick, heavy eyeliner and Aquanet were all part of their survival kit.

Autograph got a good fan reaction, too, and the band that once featured Mr. do-everything Steve Plunkett is now fronted by singer Simon Daniels, whom you might remember from Strip legends Jailhouse as Danny Simon (still can’t figure out why he (kinda) changed names).

AG_DS_Rainbow_Party_1After a spirited performance that of course included the anthem “Turn Up The Radio ” — dare we say the only song we knew? — Simon, er, Daniels, was all smiles afterward.

“The stage was really cool. The visual, looking out at all the people, it was amazing,” Simon said. “It felt really good. This is the best thing I’ve ever done at the Rainbow — and I think I know every pebble of this place by now — but I never thought I would get to play here like this in front of all my friends. It’s like family. It’s pretty overwhelming.”

Porn star Ron Jeremy, Whisky promoter Jake Perry, nightlife legend Paul Fegen and his cat. They were all there enjoying the festivities.

Guns N’ Roses, meanwhile, played at Coachella on Saturday night, but Metal Sludge didn’t make it for that one. Like fine cavier, we prefer not to be spread too thing, and Friday was a huge night wth Iron Maiden at the Forum, Dokken at the Whisky and Ratt at Canyon Club.

We ended up at Ratt, eager to help celebrate longtime bassist Robbie Crane’s return to the band because the group was down to just one original in drummer Bobby Blotzer.

Ratt_Apr_17_2016_1One thing for sure: Ratt is definitely tight. The group has been playing regularly, and there was a near-capacity crowd at Canyon Club, as Josh Alan did the singing in a hit-filled set geared toward optimum audience enjoyment.

All the hits were there like “Round and Round,” “Lay It Down” and “Back For More,” and frankly, it was clear that most in the crowd were happy to sing along.

Yes, Ratt would be more entertaining with Pearcy and guitarists Warren DeMartini and Carlos Cavazo around. But when you have this many familiar songs, if you can execute well, people simply won’t care and will accept it. Just look at Foreigner.

Stonebreed opened. The Los Angeles band does a good job of finding the right moments to spoltlight their fun brand of hard rock that, because of it’s retro qualities, helps the quartet fit in well with larger acts like Ratt, whom they’ve supported several times, in addition to playing with Warrant and others.

Stonebreed has just signed an indy record deal, so the group sparked by singer Carlos Cruz was trying out some new material that went over well, as folks were still filing in. Keep on eye on this band. Like Blacklist Union and The Hard Way, they’re technically a local band but perhaps just one big break from making a national impact.


Gerry Gittelson can be reached at

Ivy Ferguson & Lynch Mob’s Oni Logan enjoying the show
  Gerry Gittelson and Stonebreed’s Carlos Cruz
A beyond standing room only crowd filled the parking lot area behind and between The Roxy & Rainbow day & night





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