Toad's Place                                                              New Haven, CT.                             March 27, 2022

Photos By: Nancy Dagata

A sold out and very enthusiastic Sunday night crowd at the legendary Toad’s Place welcomed the arrival of the Young Gun’s Tour featuring Dirty Honey and Mammoth WVH… At 8:00 PM sharp, and the sounds of AC/DC’s “Night Prowler” blasting over the PA, the crowd was poised and ready when Mammoth WVH hit the stage under a hue of purple lightning and the din of fog hanging in the air… Kicking off their set with “Mammoth” and “Mr. ED”, it was apparent that the band had the audience fully engaged. As Mammoth WVH tore through their set, Wolfgang Van Halen continued to showcase his musicianship and songwriting skills, and reminded everyone that he inherited more than just his father’s last name. Equally as impressive was Wolfgang’s vocals, seamlessly transitioning between soaring highs and melodic harmonies… There were many highlights throughout the set, including the moody and atmospheric “Stone”. “Think It Over” was introduced as “my dad’s favorite”, and two songs featured Wolfgang on keyboards, to which he reminded everyone in attendance that all sounds they were hearing are being played live, the way it ought to be. There was no doubt that Mammoth WVH tapped into a sentimental and emotional vein during the latter part of the set when they performed “Distance” and “My Hero”. “Distance” was the first single released and features the lines “No matter what the distance is, I will be with you. No matter what the distance is, you’ll be ok.” The song was delivered with intensity, passion, and pure love, which resonated throughout the audience. “My Hero” made its tour debut at their previous gig in Boston, following the passing of Taylor Hawkins. Wolfgang indicated that it was his duty and mission to play this song in honor of Taylor. Having the capacity crowd sing the chorus just added to the moment. The band closed out their set with the powerhouse “Don’t Back Down.”

 

Mammoth’s touring band features Garrett Whitlock on drums, Ronnie Ficarro on bass, and Jon Jourdan on guitar. Some may recall that Whitlock and Wolfgang previously toured together as members of Mark Tremonti’s band. Frank Sidoris was absent, having just finished his tour with Slash the night before in Orlando. However, his presence was felt by having his life size cutout displayed behind Jon Jourdan’s backline cabinets. The full Mammoth WVH set list included:

 

 1. Mammoth

 2. Mr. Ed

 3. Epiphany

 4. Horribly Right

 5. You'll Be The One

 6. Stone

 7. I Don't Know At All

 8. Think It Over

 9. You're To Blame

10. Distance

11. My Hero (Foo Fighters Cover) (Dedicated To Taylor Hawkins)

12. Don't Back Down

Review By: Anthony Mastromarino

Photos By: Nancy Dagata

Next to hit the stage was California-based rockers Dirty Honey… Having previously toured with Slash and the Black Crowes, this band has quickly cemented a reputation for delivering high intensity performances reminiscent of the style and substance of classic era Aerosmith, Zeppelin, Humble Pie and the aforementioned Black Crowes. This incredibly talented band is fronted by Marc LaBelle on lead vocals, John Notto on guitar, Justin Smolian on bass, and Corey Coverstone on drums. The band opened their high energy set with “California Dreamin” and “Break You”. First and foremost, Marc LaBelle is a bona fide rock star. In addition to having an incredible vocal range, he has an undeniable stage presence and style that immediately commands your attention. Dirty Honey’s performance oozed with swagger and infectious enthusiasm throughout the entire set. Highlights included “Heartbreaker”, “The Wire”, and the bluesy “Another Last Time”, which is clearly a tip of the cap to Aerosmith’s Pump-era classic “What It Takes”. Dirty Honey had previously included Aerosmith’s “Last Child” in their live set, but this song was replaced by a slowed down, funky take on Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”, during which John Notto flexed his fretboard talent on a blazing outro solo. John’s guitar set up features the classic Gibson Les Paul and Marshall amp combo, which sounded brilliant as he seamlessly weaved in the signature elements of Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone” during his solo segment. The band closed their triumphant set with their two most recognizable and familiar tracks “When I’m Gone” and “Rollin’ 7s”… The complete set list included:

 1. California Dreamin'

 2. Break You

 3. Heartbreaker

 4. The Wire

 5. Scars

 6. Tied Up

 7. Down The Road

 8. Gypsy

 9. Let's Go Crazy (Prince Cover)

10. Another Last Time

11. Justin Smolian Bass Solo

12. Corey Coverstone Drum Solo

13. John Notto Guitar Solo

14. When I'm Gone

15. Rolling 7s

Review By: Anthony Mastromarino

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