Written by Jim Bille
ImageFifty years ago The Whisky a Go Go opened its doors with Johnny Rivers surrounded by go go dancers and never looked back.

Yes, this is the same club that is considered to be the first discotheque in the United States and the place where go go boots and go go dancers were born way back in the groovy 1960’s. This surprisingly small venue only holds about 250 patrons max but it is still the place for not only veteran bands to frequent but up and coming acts jump at the chance to enhance their resumes by playing the Whisky.

Just about everyone who is or would become anyone in the music business has played the Whisky. Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond and Frank Zappa all graced the Whisky stage – but the Doors hold a special place in the Whisky’s heart. It was the Doors who were actually the house band at this landmark club for a short time until they were fired over performing their then controversial song “The End” with its Oedipal references.

The Doors legacy still lives on at the club and Robby Krieger was in house to help celebrate this historic anniversary with his band “Jam Kitchen” last Thursday night. The name Jam Kitchen should give you some indication of how Krieger’s band sounds as most of the two hour set was filled with extended jam versions of some of Krieger’s post Doors catalogue, a few Frank Zappa numbers and of course a good dose of Doors classics.

ImageRobby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen includes former Frank Zappa band mates Arthur Barrow and Tommy Mars as well as Larry Klimas and Tom Brechtlein.

Krieger opened the show with the Zappa penned “Chunga’s Revenge”, an obscure and frantic number from an early Zappa release.

The next selection was instantly recognizable from its classic guitar intro as Krieger warmed up the packed house with “Love Me Two Times”.

Krieger’s playing has evolved into a more free form jazz sound over the years and most of the set was loaded with improvised fills that kind of updated or redirected some of the classic Doors numbers featured throughout the evening. That being said, the core of the music was still in place and there was no mistaking the groove that these sons of the west coast sun once made.

Tribute bands come and go but one L.A. mainstay is Wild Child. This homage to the Doors has a front man that hits it home hard doing the best Jim Morrison vocals around. Actually well enough to have toured with Krieger and the late Ray Manzarek as The Doors on occasion. So why not have Dave Brock, who fronts Wild Child, do it up on the last five numbers that included “Touch Me”, “Wild Child”, “Roadhouse Blues”, “Riders on the Storm” and the ubiquitous classic “Light my Fire”. Close your eyes and think about it. I did and I’m thinking the Doors circa the late 1960’s.

The Whisky a Go Go’s 50th year birthday party with Robby Krieger, now that’s how to hang out on the Sunset Strip!