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Of all the clubs on the Sunset Strip, the Whisky a Go-Go has the longest history and the most impressive roster of legendary musicians who've played there. Johnny Rivers christened the room with its first live performance in 1964, and the two-level club was soon the main hangout for such influential local bands as the Byrds, Love, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield and a young Alice Cooper, as well as up-and-coming out-of-town acts like Led Zeppelin, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Velvet Underground, Cream and the late Otis Redding, who recorded a classic live album there. In the late 1970s, the club expanded its booking policy to encompass punk, new wave, power pop and heavy metal groups, including the Ramones, X, the Germs, the Alley Cats, Blondie, the Last, XTC, Dead Kennedys, the Quick, Van Halen, the Plimsouls and Quiet Riot. The Whisky was shuttered for several years in the early 1980s before reinventing itself once again, this time as a hot spot for the growing hair-metal scene, with bands like Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue and, later on, such grunge outfits as Mudhoney and Nirvana and punk veterans like Vice Squad. These days, various promoters use the site to book mostly new and unknown performers, with occasional visitations from bigger-name artists. While the cages that used to enclose its namesake go-go dancers above the stage are long gone, the Whisky a Go-Go still has much of the same layout as it did in the 1960s, with standing room on the dance floor and small tables in the upstairs balcony. Unlike so many local music venues, the nightclub has always had a powerful PA, making it one of the best places to hear live music in the city. There are two full bars, and most nights admission is available to people of all ages. Paid parking is available in the lot behind the club.
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