Butcher Babies, Tantric, Dio Disciples + More Send Music + Love to Orlando at L.A.’s Ultimate Jam Night Benefit
L.A.’s rock and metal musicians came together for a great cause Tuesday night (June 21), with a massive concert under the Ultimate Jam Night umbrella in support of Orlando’s LGBTQ community.
In the past year-and-a-half, Ultimate Jam Night, which is currently hosted at West Hollywood's legendary Whisky-a-Go-Go, has become a bit of a Hollywood institution. Started in January of 2015 by Quiet Riot’s Chuck Wright, the show features unrehearsed jams from a virtual who’s who of touring musicians and outstanding newcomers.
Wright felt that the Pulse Nightclub shooting was an attack on the joy that music brings us, and he looked for a way to express solidarity and support, organizing a very special Ultimate Jam Night benefit in only five days. The event, believed to the be the first "real-time" worldwide digital fundraiser, was broadcast live via Zinna.tv, and allowed viewers to donate money via Bravo Tip or Pay. All funds raised will benefit The Zebra Coalition, who provide support and services to Central Florida's LGBTQ youth.
A remarkable amount of metal and rock musicians participated in the event, including the Butcher Babies, Tantric, Westfield Massacre, Dio Disciples, GayC/DC, The Chimpz, Mad Life, Alex Band, dUg Pinnick, Hellion, Riki Rachtman, Monte Pittman and Debby Holiday, with many of the acts providing their own airfare to be at the event.
"We are pleased that the rock music community could come together so quickly and completely in support of the Orlando LGBTQ community," said Wright. "The shootings at the Pulse Nightclub were senseless and our hope is that their community will feel love and aid coming all the way from the West Coast."
The evening started off with a brief set from industrial rockers Mad Life, followed by The Chimpz, who brought their hip-hop-metal hybrid to the stage and got the crowd amped up.
The main Ultimate Jam Night set started off with the house band, consisting of Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot), Matt Starr (Mr. Big), Mitch Perry (MSG), Walter Ino (Survivor), and the evening's host, vocalist Paulie Z. (ZO2) covering Queen's "Tie Your Mother Down." Paulie asked the crowd if they could imagine living in a world without Freddie Mercury or Rob Halford, which then lead into a cover of Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming."
The fabulous Debby Holiday was up next with "We Don't Need Another Hero." Then King's X's dUg Pinnick took the stage along with Tommy Baldwin and Hurricane's Mike Hanson for a three-song set that included a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," where dUg brilliantly sang the lyrics as they are frequently misheard..."'Scuse me while I kiss this guy."
Southern hard rockers Tantric were up next, and then Alex Band from The Calling joined the house band for a set that included his band's hit "Wherever You Will Go," as well as the Santana favorite he sang vocals on -- "Why Don't You & I."
Paulie Z. introduced the evening's special guest, Eric "The Tree" Roundtree, a Pulse Nightclub security guard who lost 17 friends in the tragic shooting. "Violence will never be what rules us," said Paulie in a moving speech, which he followed with an uplifting performance of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful."
The Butcher Babies brought a heavy, high energy performance to the stage and got the capacity crowd cheering and jumping along. Then Alabama's Kenneth Bryan Band delivered a set of progressive Southern rock. Up next was the Queen of Metal, Hellion, with several of Ronnie James Dio's former band members playing with her. The Dio alums then transitioned into a set as Dio Disciples, a band dedicated to keeping the music and spirit of Ronnie James Dio alive. Dio Disciples are comprised of Dio's former bandmates Simon Wright, Scott Warren, Bjorn Englen and Craig Goldy alongside vocalist Joe Retta (The Sweet, Trans Siberian Orchestra.)
Next up was GayC/DC, a band of gay musicians who play a mix of classic rock alongside AC/DC covers. They were not only fun and fabulous, throwing beads and confetti into the crowd, but they absolutely shredded.
Westfield Massacre, who just got back from their US tour supporting Sevendust, commanded the stage, leading off with a blistering cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." Former MTV host Riki Rachtman followed with "Social Distortion," featuring special guest Monte Pittman. And finally, Debby Holiday returned to the stage with the house band for a thrilling performance of the Rolling Stones classic "Gimme Shelter."
Donations of any amount are still being accepted at Bravo. To donate, download the Bravo app at www.trybravo.com and search for Ultimate Jam Night. Check out our photos from Ultimate Jam Night's A Gift to Orlando Benefit in the gallery above.