Mammoth WVH at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, IL

Mammoth WVH recently kicked off their fall/winter tour with support from Nita Strauss, and we caught them on their Chicago stop.

Usually, come November, tours tend to be coming to an end and they are very few and far between. Especially in the Midwest where the unpredictable climate can often prove to be troublesome for traveling bands. However, with the disruption in touring over the last few years, 2023 seems to be cramming as many tours in as possible, right up until the bitter end, and we’re all here for it. Keep ’em coming, we say! 

This tour only kicked off last week in Milwaukee and features not just one force to be reckoned with, but two! First up was Nita Strauss. Strauss is one of those musicians who always has something going on. In between touring with Alice Cooper and Demi Lovato, she worked on her second solo album, The Call of The Void, which was released in July. She is now out on the road with this new music, bringing it to the masses. 

It was an early start to the show so some people were struggling to get there in time for Nita. Those who were able to make it were treated to an impressive set that had the audience’s full attention from beginning to end. Her first album was fully instrumental whereas the new release features guest singers, paving the way for a similar format for this performance. The first half of her set was instrumental, with Strauss’ guitar prowess taking center stage. It takes something special to be able to hold a crowd’s attention with fully instrumental songs, but it’s fair to say, Nita has that something special. Between playing at lightning speeds and sometimes one-handed while the other hand was behind her back, there’s no question she has serious guitar chops. But her style is not just about playing fast for the sake of it. The melodies are impressive and captivating. The songs were rounded out by Josh V on drums, Katt Scarlett on keys, Christopher Dean on bass, and Johnny Young on rhythm guitar. For the second part of Strauss’ set, they were joined on stage by Kasey Karlsen who added her impressive vocal skills to the mix. 

Next to take to the stage was headliner, Mammoth WVH who also had a summer release with Mammoth II. It must be difficult when deciding on the setlist for a show when you want to showcase your new material but also want to keep in the older material that the audience is more familiar with. Do you go with the majority of old or new material? Wolf Van Halen took the decision to split it 50/50 between his first and second albums. That way everyone’s happy. 

While Wolf recorded all of the parts for both albums himself, the touring members of the band have remained the same – Frank Sidoris on guitar, Garrett Whitlock on drums, Jon Jourdan on rhythm guitar, and Ronnie Ficaro on bass. 

Each time we see Mammoth WVH perform, we can see Wolf stepping more and more out of the shadow associated with such a famous last name and lineage. While the name of the band is a homage to his father, and he undoubtedly received guidance from him, the songs are clearly all Wolfgang and he is continuing to prove he can stand on his own two feet.  

As Wolf looked out into the audience, he seemed genuinely shocked at how many people had come along to the show. There was no reason to be so taken aback by the size of the crowd. Everyone there was clearly thoroughly enjoying the show. Wolf is building a strong catalog of material and is surrounded by a tight band of musicians. This is a band that continues to go from strength to strength. 

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About Kirstine Walton 386 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!