CINCINNATI, OH-  A capacity crowd braved the rain and cold temperatures to bear witness to a night of rock featuring not one, but two guitar virtuosos.  Mammoth featuring Wolfgang Van Halen brought their “Mammoth II” tour to Bogart’s in Cincinnati with support from Nita Strauss. There  was a good mix of generations in attendance as it was an all ages show. The audience was electrified and ecstatic and the excitement was palpable.

Nita Strauss at Bogarts 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogarts 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

From her opening song, “Summer Storm”, Nita Strauss came out with guns a blazing, moving right to the front of the stage and engaging with the crowd. Her ever present smile and wild head banging accompanied her masterful touch on her guitar, welcoming all who were there. She is backed by a band consisting of her fiancé Josh Villalta on drums, Johnny Young on rhythm guitar, Christopher Dean on bass, and Katt Scarlett on keyboards. They support her well and help highlight her skills.

The first half of her 8 songs set Strauss played some of her most popular instrumentals which really highlights her abilities. The likes of “Our Most Desperate Hour”, “Mariana Trench”, “Alegria” and “The Quest” were included. Drummer Josh Villalta was given a drum solo to mark the break in the set. When the band returned, they were joined by vocalist, Kasey Karlsen of Deadlands fame. Her powerful voice filled some heavy shoes that Nita had guest in the past. The likes of David Draiman from Disturbed and Dorothy Martin left the benchmark upon which Karlsen would have to obtain and she did it with ease. The songs in question were, “The Wolf You Feed”, “Through The Noise”, “Dead Inside” and “Victorious.”

The band was tight and energetic throughout the set, giving an amazing show from start to finish. “The Call of The Void” is her latest album which most of the setlist pulled from. Strauss first came to most people’s attention as the guitarist for Alice Cooper and has really made a name for herself since. My first live experience with her though was at the Whisky in Los Angeles with a band called “We Start Wars” which Kat Scarlett was also a part of. As she continues to prove herself as formidable musician, songwriter and performer, one must ask themselves how soon until she is considered one of the top guitarists of all time. The Mammoth II tour has come to an end, Strauss and company have embarked on a headline tour to support the new album. I highly recommend catching a show if they are near you.

Follow Nita Strauss on Facebook, Instagram and X.

Mammoth WVH at Bogarts 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogarts 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

As we waited for Mammoth to take the stage, the expectant energy of the audience did not wane. Most of us remember the birth of Wolfgang as his parents, Eddie and Valerie Bertanelli were so proud and doting. It could be said that he grew up in front of the world. His musical introduction to the world was when he assumed the Bass Player position in the final iteration of the Van Halen reunion with David Lee Roth. Though many may have balked at this decision, he filled Michael Anthony’s shoes well. He has since carved his own path as a musician performer and songwriter. Shying away from borrowing from what some would expect of his Dad’s legacy. He’s his own man, as he not only writes and plays every instrument on both Mammoth albums, but has proved himself as a viable frontman.

As the intro music, AC/DC’s “Night Prowler” played, Mammoth backdrop dropped in place, the band, which includes guitarist, Frank Sidoris, bassist Ronnie Ficarro and drummer Garrett Whitlock took the respective positions on the stage. The opening notes of “I’m Alright” began to play Wolfie took his place center stage adorned with his custom EVH guitar. It was a strong opening as WVH engaged the crowd and welcomed them into his musical world. He has a soulful voice with enough grit to add as he pushed his vocals and made a poignant statement of his abilities. His guitar chops were on full display as well, he’s not the type of frontman to rest as solely a rhythm player. Everything you could expect him to do, he did and but also shared the lead spotlight with Sidoris. The band itself was tight, Ficarro being the most active around the stage, with solid rhythms from Whitlock as the lighting rigs danced around in their full spectrum.

Mammoth WVH at Bogarts 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogarts 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

The 15 song set was divided almost equally between the first album “Mammoth WVH” (8) and “Mammoth II”(7), which gave a wide array of their current discography. Some of the Highlights were “Mammoth”, “Epiphony”, “Horribly Right” and “Think It Over” which he stated was his Dad’s favorite song. He also played “Distance” acoustically teasing a bit of the Oasis hit “Wonder Wall.” These songs from the first Mammoth Album. The songs included from the second were, “Right?”, “Like A Pasttime”, “Miles Above Me” and “Take A Bow,” which closed out the main set.

After a brief intermission the band returned for a rousing encore with 2 songs now etched in my brain as my two favorite Mammoth songs, “Another Celebration at the End Of the World,” which is just a powder keg set to explode of a song and stirred the crowd back in. The other, “Don’t Back Down,” just had a crazy funky groove going on. I may be late to the game on this, but I am now a fan of Wolfie and Mammoth and look forward to seeing what the future holds for him moving forward. Though the tour is done and over, the band will be out again soon as support to some of the upcoming Foofighters shows. Catch them if you get the opportunity, you will not be disappointed.

Follow Mammoth MVH on Facebook, Instagram and X.

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Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Mammoth WVH at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Nita Strauss at Bogart's 3/1/24. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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