The Young Guns Tour is a changing of the guard
Last night, the Young Guns Tour rolled through The Fillmore in Philadelphia. A capacity crowd was on hand see the new torchbearers of rock ‘n’ roll take the stage in their first co-headlining jaunt in big rooms. Those who bore witness can confirm that traditional rock music is alive and well.
The trek is in support of both artist’s self-titled debut albums – Mammoth WVH and Dirty Honey, both released earlier this year. Both bands saw their debut singles – Dirty Honey’s “When I’m Gone” and Mammoth WVH’s “Distance” – occupy the #1 position on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Airplay chart. In addition, both bands’ debut albums made quite impressive bows; Mammoth WVH debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart, and Dirty Honey – the band, totally independent with no label affiliation – claimed the #2 position on that chart.
“People who come to our shows are going to see two bands who are looking to prove that rock’n’roll is definitely very much alive and well,” said Dirty Honey’s Marc LaBelle. “We both carry the weight of that on our shoulders, and there’s a lot to prove.”
Wolfgang Van Halen’s Mammoth WVH are serving as special guests for the trek. They performed most of their their self-titled LP which dropped in 2020. After opening with “Mammoth,” the band proceeded to play a solid 12-song set. The performance included “You’ll Be The One,” “Epiphany,” “Stone,” “Your To Blame,” “Horribly Right,” and more.
The set included a very special performance of “Distance.” Because the band was short-handed, Wolfgang stripped the No. 1 Billboard smash hit down to a solo acoustic performance. As simple as it was, it seemed to make the song all the more powerful. The connection with the crowd was palpable.
“It’s funny how the simplest song is the most difficult one to play,” a visibly emotional Wolfgang said.
Mammoth WVH also premiered a brand new track live. The song marked the first new piece of material from Wolfgang since his debut album. He told the capacity crowd that he plans to head into the studio in September to record his sophomore LP.
Before ripping through their power anthem “Don’t Back Down,” the band took time to pay tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins who passed away unexpectedly last week. They had been sprinkling in one cover song per set on this tour. They used that moment last night to perform the Foo Fighters’ classic “My Hero” in Hawkins honor.
Again on this tour – as with all shows prior – Mammoth WVH’s set did not include any Van Halen tracks, nor should it have. Wolfgang Van Halen played bass for the iconic group his father founded from 2006 to 2020. Now, Wolfgang has set out to establish his own place in the rock world since Eddie’s unfortunate passing in 2020 at just 65 years old – and he’s doing a damn fine job of it. He isn’t riding his father’s coattails to stardom, and the material he’s cranking out on his own has some serious weight to it.
Wolfgang Van Halen is refusing to give in to the fans that are demanding some Van Halen nostalgia, and don’t bother Tweeting him – he’s not backing down.
Dirty Honey are a breath of fresh air in today’s rock landscape. A wonderful nod to the old school, the band delivers traditional rock ‘n’ roll with tasty licks and serious swagger. They kicked things off with “California Dreamin'”
When you first give Dirty Honey a listen, guitarists John Notto’s tone sounds interestingly similar to a couple dudes named Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. That being said, I imagine it’s not random that the band play a killer cover of Aerosmith’s “Last Child” – a telling moment of where their influences are.
Last night, however, they swiped out “Last Child” for AC/DC’s “Shoot To Thrill” in honor of guitarist Angus Young’s birthday.
The fourth song of the set was their current hit single “The Wire.” The tracks three crunchy chords and catchy lyrics were more than enough to make the song a radio smash and a fan favorite at live shows. Other highlights from their set included “Break You,” “Gypsy,” “Heartbreaker,” “Tied Up,” and more.
They closed out the evening with a pair of their biggest hits – “When I’m Gone” and “Rolling 7s.”
Dirty Honey’s are proof that the classic formula of straight-ahead hard rock ‘n’ roll is still relevant today. Their building on the foundation laid for them by the likes of Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, and others. The band is garnering radio play and packing big venues. The formula clearly still works.
The Young Guns Tour rolls on through April 10, wrapping up with a performance at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, FL.
Dirty Honey: Live Photo Gallery
Mammoth WVH: Live Photo Gallery
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