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LESLIE WEST Tribute Show To Benefit MusiCares In Los Angeles With Photos!

By Krishta Abruzzini, Pacific Northwest Writer
Tuesday, February 6, 2024 @ 9:48 AM

At The Canyon Club January 23rd, Presented By Give Back Through Music

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All Photos By Krishta Photography

Give Back Through Music (GBTM) held its first annual American Classics concert, tributing Leslie West, co-founder, guitarist and co-lead vocalist of the rock band MOUNTAIN at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA. The show benefits MusiCares, which provides a safety net of health and welfare services to the music community. MusiCares offers welfare services to the music community with mental health and addiction recovery, health services, which includes preventive care and screenings, and basic support for living expenses such as housing, rent and utilities for those in need. MusiCares helps the humans behind music because music gives so much to the world.

Leslie, being one of the most admired pioneers of rock guitar has had an influence on many of today's artists. Co-founder of GBTM Fabrizio Grossi says, "It's wonderful to see all of our friends joining-in to pay tribute to Leslie and to support a great cause that Leslie felt so strongly about." Marc Reiser, co-founder of GBTM states, "We love and embrace the MusiCares mission. We're so aligned as partners, because we empower music fans to give back and with this concert, to raise money for artists in need. We are especially drawn to the work they are doing to help fight hardship, by offering mental health and addiction recovery programs."

Yamaha International is a founding sponsor of GBTM, and Dean Guitars also helped sponsor the show offering donated items for auction with proceeds going to MusiCares.

The night was hosted by Eddie Trunk and included an all-star lineup of musicians including Steve Lukather, Richie Kotzen, Jesse Hughes, Rudy Sarzo, Tracii Guns, Robby Krieger, Stu Hamm, Marco Mendoza, Jeff Scott Soto, Phil X, Matt Starr, and many more artists.

The evening started out with a Red Carpet celebration honoring the artists that would be playing the event. Many of the musicians in attendance were beyond happy to talk about the charity and definitely shined for the cameras. It was a warm welcome to such a fantastic evening of music.

The one thing I love about these shows is the joining of various musicians forming a one-time band for one evening. There were so many accomplished and creative souls in one room. It would be impossible to put into words how each and every set was not only a unique experience, watching each musician add their own style into the songs, but the collaboration leaves one wanting to witness each second of every song played.

Opening the show was Kyle Hughes (drums), Rudy Sarzo (bass), Kris Barras (guitar), Jason Womack (guitar), and Brett Scallions (vocals), with the MOUNTAIN classic, Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)", a slow, bluesy song, executed perfectly by this lineup.

Stu Hamm and friends were up next with the MOUNTAIN song "Never In My Life", followed by QUEEN's "We Will Rock You". I've seen Stu play for many years and the one thing I've always said about him is that he is one of the only bass players that could play a solo as if it were lead guitar and make you cry.

Marco Mendoza & band were up next playing "Together" and "Higher Ground".

PARADISE KITTY, the all-girl tribute to GUNS N' ROSES, came out with a blistering set of "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Knocking On Heaven's Door".

Matteo Mancuso & band played "Drop D" and "You Really Got Me".

Phil X, along with Matt Starr and Daniel Spree, played "Silver Paper" and "No Woman of Mine". Always a pleasure watching Phil play guitar. Matt Starr is such a monster of a drummer.

The infamous (holy shit!) Steve Lukather came out next with Fabrizio Grossi and Logan E. Sheppard playing Robin Trower's "Bridge of Sighs" followed by the Jimi Hendrix classic "Freedom".

Next up was Jesse Hughes, Matt Starr, Julia Lage and Tracii Guns playing the MOUNTAIN song "Blood of The Sun" followed by the STONES' "You Can't Always Get What You Want". Before the show, Hughes was outside talking about how he had no shame in using a lyric sheet because he wanted to do the song, "absolute justice", which the band absolutely did. Tracii, Julia and Matt along with Jesse were on fire. Let me just add, I absolutely adore Jesse Hughes. He is truly one of the best humans on the planet. I love a good underdog story, and this dude, who went from picked-on High School nerd, to such an exuberant, shining rock star, that also wears his heart on his sleeve, is one of the most genuine and kindest of souls. On his Instagram, he does impromptu karaoke sessions that are my absolute favorite. I can't sing, but man, I just want to go karaoke with this guy. www.instagram.com/fatherbadass

Next onstage was the young band, CLASSLESS ACT. Adorable. They played Britney Spears' "Toxic" followed by their original song, "Circles". Follow them on www.classlessact.com.

Richie Kotzen, Kyle Hughes and Dylan Wilson were up next playing "War Paint" and "Love is Blind".

The audience was then treated to the one and only DOORS guitarist, Robby Krieger, playing "L.A. Woman" and "Roadhouse Blues". Wow. If the night weren't already ridiculously cool, this happened.

Matt Starr, Fabrizio Grossi, Kris Barras and Derek Day then came out playing "Third Degree" and "To The Moon".

Scott Page (original saxophonist for PINK FLOYD), along with Roberta Freeman (amazing vocalist), Ed Roth (keyboards), Derek Day (guitars), Kenny Olson (guitars), Norwood Fisher (bass) and Stephen Perkins (drums) formed a band they called THINK EXP. They played the classic FLOYD tunes "Time" and "The Wall".

Everyone was waiting for it, and who better to close the show with the MOUNTAIN classic "Mississippi Queen", than the Mississippi Queens themselves, Rachael Rine (drums), Julia Lage (bass), Britt Lightning (guitar), Abby Gennet (guitar), and Gabriela Gun (vocals). It was beyond cool to see so many women highlighted in this show, and ending it with this lineup was just fantastic.

A huge thank you goes out to Fabrizio Grossi, Marc Reiser, baddass rockstar publicist Lisa Morton Woodard and all the bands and folks that came together for this benefit. It was truly a wonderful night of camaraderie, music and a lot of love for an important cause.

Check out some more photos from the event!
All Photos By Krishta Photography

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