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  • Kyle Brown

Mammoth II Tour Review: Mammoth WVH & Nita Strauss @ St Andrew's Hall

Nita Strauss Live in Detroit - Photo by Kyle Brown

St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan played host to the Mammoth II tour. A tour that holds not one, but two forces that can absolutely rock a stage at any given moment.

First up was Nita Strauss—Strauss is probably most well known for playing alongside her boss, Alice Cooper, but has continually added to her resume performing alongside the likes of Demi Lovato, Disturbed, Chris Motionless, Dorothy, and more. All the while, creating an impressive solo career. Over the summer, Strauss released a new album, The Call Of The Void. The record includes vocal tracks, which was a big change from the first album that was fully instrumental.

Similarly enough, that was how she started her set; with the first half being fully instrumental,

and then bringing on a singer for the second half.

As any true professional should, Strauss and her band made sure to use every inch of the

stage. Though it was small, the stage easily held Strauss and her four other band members.

Dancing, spinning, and jumping their way around the stage, Nita Strauss and her band made

one Hell of a first impression.

The crowd couldn't take their eyes off her high energy performance and captivating presence. Looking around, everyone’s eyes were big, taking in the sights that Nita Strauss and her band were giving. Strauss was able to show off her skill set during her set, playing with one hand behind her back, or even teasing the crowd with how fast she could play. It's no wonder why the father of shock rock and one of metal's best showmen, Alice Cooper, employs her. Strauss has a talent and passion not many have.

Detroit is home to Wrif 101.1, a rock radio station. Strauss took the time to thank the company and

its listeners for paving the way to getting her song, "Dead Inside", to #1 on rock radio. Before the last song for the set, Strauss made sure to thank the crowd for being in attendance, saying, “Without you, there is no show. So, thank you for showing up tonight.”

I had the opportunity to meet up with Strauss after her set, as crews set up for the next act.

Strauss was super personable. She truly cares about her fans, taking the time to

have small chats with each one and take as many pictures as needed, all with a genuine smile on her face.

Wolfgang Van Halen Live in Detroit - Photo by Kyle Brown

Wolfgang Van Halen. If that name sounds familiar, you probably should thank his dad. Wolfgang is the son of rock late guitar legend, Eddie Van Halen. At the young age of 16, he joined his father's band. While he continues to play in Van Halen, he has since branched out on a solo endeavor, creating his band Mammoth WVH to continue his career on his own terms.

Though Van Halen can play practically every instrument in a studio, he brought along two

guitarists and a drummer to accompany him for the Mammoth II Tour across North America. What caught me off guard and was a pretty cool hidden treasure was that Van Halen uses some of Eddie Van Halen’s foot pedals. That was something I never expected to see for sure, and a real treat.

The first thing I noticed about his set was how incredibly back light it was. In the photo pit, it

made for a fun yet tough set to get creative pictures. The green, blue, and red lights behind the

band created a mood that made his performance all the more eye-catching. The band itself

seemed to have really good chemistry. Spread across the stage, you were able to see every

member with ease.

Mammoth WVH also sounded fantastic. Not one instrument was overbearing or underpowered. Vocals were heard with ease and sounded amazing, especially on the high notes—props to the sound engineer and road crew.

After playing the first song to his set, Van Halen stood at the microphone for a few seconds. He

studied the crowd and genuinely seemed shocked about the turnout. It was a packed house,

even in the basement section, to which there is a smaller venue called “The Shelter.” From that moment, the confidence began to grow. As mentioned before, Van Halen has tough shoes to fill. Being the son of a rock legend, it’s a tall task to go out and perform on his own. On Wednesday night, Van Halen proved that he can take those reigns and be his own person at the same time.

The confidence Van Halen played with went sky high, especially after the third song, when it ended in a huge thunderous applause. It was in that moment that the band settled in and just let loose.

Mammoth played song after song, without many breaks. When there was a break, Wolfgang

would talk to the crowd a bit to introduce a song, like “Think it Over”, as he pointed out it was his

dad's favorite. Before playing “Distance”, Van Halen joked with those in attendance by talking

about the “Mammoth 182” shows and asking the crowd if it was okay to play an acoustic song, to which he played the opening line of “Wonderwall” by Oasis. After admitting to the joke,

Wolfgang went on to play “Distance” acoustically. Stripped raw and vulnerable, it was here where the crowd could easily hear how talented Van Halen is. Lights dimmed to create a dramatic lighting set that put a halo like effect on Wolfgang. In the darkness of the crowd, you could only see phone screens recording or taking pictures of that moment. The performance made the venue go silent. With just an

acoustic guitar and his voice, Wolfgang was able to stop every conversation and make all eyes

turn to him.

Speaking of guitars, let me touch on the fact that Van Halen’s skills are top notch on a guitar. He may not be Nita Strauss good just yet, as Nita’s job is to be great at playing a guitar rather than a whole slew of instruments, but Van Halen can certainly hold his own. He and his band were able to shred through guitar riff after riff, keeping the crowd well entertained.

As long as Mammoth continues to grow and put music out into the world, I expect to hear about

them for years to come. The instrumental and lyrical aspects of each song gets better and better

as time goes on. Look for great things in the coming years from the legendary Nita Strauss, and legends in the making, Mammoth WVH.

Nita Strauss is headlining US shows throughout March with support from Starbenders and Diamante. She will return to Alice Cooper's side in August for a US co-headlining tour with Rob Zombie. Nita Strauss will feature at Rockville 2024 (Daytona Beach, FL) and Sonic Temple Festival 2024 (Columbus, OH).

Mammoth WVH has a full year of touring, performing across the US and EU with the likes of Slash and Metallica in April, and The Foo Fighters in July and August. They will finish the year opening for Creed's US reunion tour in November and December. Mammoth will also feature at Rockville 2024 (Daytona Beach, FL), Tons of Rock 2024 (Oslo, Norway), Hellfest 2023 (Clisson, France), and Rockharz Festival 2024 (Ballenstedt, Germany).

Special thanks to St Andrew's Hall in Detrout, MI and Live Nation.


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