Dirty Honey / Mammoth
March 9, 2022
House of Blues
Review by Michael Insuaste
Photos by Nancy Barker / Rene Rivera
Young Guns Tour Hits The Dallas House Of Blues
Two new powerhouse rock bands rolled into the Dallas House of Blues on March 9th, one carrying the legacy of an iconic musician, another who have embraced the traditional roots of seventies rock! Calling it the “Young Guns Tour” both bands brought forth their best game to a welcoming Dallas crowd.
Opening the show were California rockers Dirty Honey supporting their full length self-titled LP grabbed the attention right off the bat with a new number “Gypsy” and right into “Break You” from their 2019 EP. Their straight up, no holds bar style has captured the attention of many old school rock fans and without a doubt have earned their respect too. Kicking into familiar song “Heartbreaker” brought on a recognizable tune to their set which had the crowd singing alone. As expected, Dirty Honey mixed in many of their new songs from their self-title LP and with California Dreamin’” being the bands biggest hit single, it lifted the level of the night! Great tune!
Vocalist Marc LaBelle had the crowd eating out of his hands and with guitarist John Notto by his side, the duo gave the fans exactly what they came for a “real” ROCK AND ROLL SHOW! With a surprise in their pocket, Dirty Honey performed a Prince classic, YES… Prince… “Let’s Go Crazy”! Now, I have to be honest, this number didn’t do it for me. Slowing the tempo down several notches and making in funky just didn’t work. Can’t say I speak for everyone in the room, but the only thing appealing about this number was the end guitar lead. That was cool! My opinion, they should have kept “Last Child” by Aerosmith in the set or another classic rock song that would have fit their style.
In typical rock fashion, they threw in bass solo by Justin Smolian that transitioning into a drum solo by a very 'high' Corey Coverstone, who appearantly smoked some good weed prior to the show. The bass and drum solos were a cool moment most don’t see in a live show these days. And of course finishing the rock tradition with a fierce guitar solo by the stylish John Notto. Nice touch including a bit of “Ten Years Gone” by the mighty Led Zeppelin.
Finishing strong with two of their biggest and probably most familiar hits, “When I’m Gone” and “Rolling 7s”, Dirty Honey ended the show with 12 great numbers and with more fans in their coat pocket! My forth time to see them live on stage and they clearly deliver the goods every time! One of the few true rock bands to keep your eyes on in the near future, these guys are on a good roll!
Onto the headliners, Mammoth!
With a name like that and carrying the family name in the background, one might expect a tremendous sound from this band. But unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed.
I am not going to express my opinions on a band or live show based on what I know, rather with what I hear! For those who don’t know, Mammoth is a band lead by Wolfgang Van Halen, the son of the later great Eddie Van Halen. With that aside, I was hoping great things, especially hearing opinions from many music fans I know who have said remarks like “They are great!” … “Heavy Sound, You will LOVE THEM!”… well, I didn’t love Mammoth!
Opening their set with “Mammoth” “Mr Ed” and “Epiphany” the band had the crowd captivated. They produced a clean smooth vocal sound with familiar streamline guitar riffs. Wolf’s vocal was no doubt sharp and high, just what I expected after seeing him step into former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony on the previous VH tours. The dude can sing! Watching their set from different angles of the HOB room, I really wanted to get caught up in their music but kept finding myself losing interest. A few familiar EVH guitar riffs here and there that had some of the crowd roaring at times and I'll admit was exciting, but short lived. Not that I was expecting a reincarnation of the greatest guitar player of my time, lets not get stupid, but I was hoping for more than what Wolfgang delivered.
Without a doubt Mammoth is a tight band, talented and strong for what they were playing. But lets face it, if the VH name wasn’t connected, Mammoth would be just another of the hundreds of bands most music fans would never hear. That’s not me speaking, that’s just fact on what I know and see in the music business today! Still, I give total respect to Mammoth for their perofamnce. It was easy to see the audience were enjoying the show.
Looking around the room I can see most of the woman singing along word by word, while most of the men staring quietly waiting for something bigger to happen. It never did! The one number that did grab my attention was “You’re To Blame”. From the first guitar note, the riff stuck out with a heavier groove and cool bass line. The one song that to me will be remembered. The following tune “Distance” was a bit more personal as Wolf expressed it was has fathers favorite song. A very sweet gesture and what seem to be the mellowest song of their set.
Mammoth finished with a grunge classic by Alice In Chains “Them Bones”. This song woke the entire room up, at least it did me. “Don’t Back Down” was the bands closing number and I can’t help but think most of these songs are very personal to Wolfgang Van Halen, as they should be. As a young musician stepping into BIG SHOES being the offspring of a famous father, the crazy life of rock and roll and all the bullshit that goes with it, he has a lot on his shoulders and somethings to prove to the fans and most of all to himself. Although I may not have been impressed as I expected with Mammoth’s performance, I do look forward seeing what else this band brings in the near future!
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