Material: The Guitar & Whiskey Club brings a potent and unique classic rock sound to the Los Angeles music scene. With members hailing from New York, Wisconsin, Illinois and California, this diverse group has an original style that transitions effortlessly from hair- throwing glam metal to Southern rock. From the driving drums, bass, and vocal stylings in the band’s cover of The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz,” to the powerhouse harmonies and sassy lyrics of original tracks like “Flies Like Whiskey” and “We Don’t Care,” The Guitar & Whiskey Club bring uncommon ease to their contemporary take on ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock.
Musicianship: Founding members Jeff Donovan and Scott Smith and bandmates Bob Sickels, Seen Robinson and frontwoman Jennifer Wylde are clearly in sync, confident, and comfortable on stage, challenging each other in their call and response, but without the exaggerated arrogance sometimes associated with the hard rock genre.
Tight vocal harmonies shine in their cover of April Wine’s “Roller,” and their original “You’ve Got a Lot of Nerve” feels like a bluesy marriage of Alannah Myles and the instrumental stylings of the pre-grunge era. Robinson’s wailing guitar solos continue in “That Girl,” and the band’s cover of The Babys’ rocker “Head First” brings strong vocals from Wylde. Overall, the sound is steady and polished.
Performance: The band has played numerous gigs in the LA region. This is The Guitar & Whiskey Club’s fifth appearance at The Canyon in Agoura Hills, where they are now a crowd favorite, undoubtedly opening the door to bigger shows and larger crowds. Their musical delivery is genuine and heartfelt, and the audience was engaged and enthusiastic throughout the show. Wylde’s interaction with the room was energetic and authentic, and she and the band were very much at home in their expression on stage. “The Sky is Burning,” a memorable original rock anthem that closed the show, featured Wylde’s powerful vocals and nimble guitar solos by Robinson.
Summary: Led by the vigorous stage presence of frontwoman Jennifer Wylde, the tight performance of The Guitar & Whiskey Club represents the best of a bygone era of hard rock, as well as a fresh iteration of it. For those with a passion for that classic era, the hints of melismatic nostalgia that this group emits will undoubtedly take you back in time, while simultaneously showcasing the group’s creativity and originality. The set list is growing, momentum is building, and this is likely just the beginning for this talented quintet. A fabulous night out for hard rock evangelists.
Players: Jennifer Wylde, vocals; Jeff Donovan, guitar; Seen Robinson, guitar; Scott Smith, bass, backing vocals; Bob Sickels, drums