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Mammoth WVH

Artist: Mammoth WVH

Venue: London, Wembley Arena

Date: 05th April 2024


"But he’s his own man, well and truly carving out a name for himself, and I believe no father could be prouder of a son’s achievements."

 
© Myke Gray
© Myke Gray

Wolfgang Van Halen is a genius. Now that I’ve got that out of the way I will attempt to explain why. Songwriting is an art unto itself. You don’t need to be a great musician to write a great song, in fact many great musicians are unable to write a song at all. Some pieces of music require you to be a great musician to perform it, but some composers have written masterpieces they are unable to play themselves, Shubert to name but one.


But Wolfgang Van Halen can do all of the above and much more. Not only does he single-handedly write all his own songs, he is also capable of playing each instrument to such a high standard, that he can record an entire album by himself. And if that wasn’t enough, he performs live concerts all over the world, emotionally connecting to audiences through his music. If that isn’t the definition of a genius then please tell me what the fuck is?


Having been a lifelong fan of Edward Van Halen it would only be natural for me, and millions of others, to be interested in his son’s music. But that interest would wane pretty quickly if the music had no merit. The first time I heard ‘Distance’ by Mammoth it reduced me to tears, and I know I’m not the only one. Only an incredibly gifted human being would be able to write and perform such a sophisticated piece of music. I suspect we’ve only seen the tip of this man’s extraordinary talents.


Tonight, at the Wembley Arena, Mammoth WVH are opening for Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators. Even though the doors only opened thirty minutes before showtime, the venue was packed, showing the support act have considerable pulling power themselves. With no need for a fancy introduction, the five musicians calmly walked onstage and launched into the first song. They opened with ‘Another Celebration At The End Of The World’, taken from the second Mammoth album. Everything about this band is quality. Drummer Garrett Whitlock is a monster, combining precision and power in equal measure. Bassist Ronnie Ficarro is the perfect blend of supreme player and dynamic showman. He covers every inch of the stage without missing a note. Guitarists Frank Sidoris and Jon Jourdan not only look the part, but both are incredible players. Each band member has been carefully chosen to carry out the frontman’s vision. Being able to put together a successful team is a great skill, and Wolfgang has chosen wisely.


Everything about WVH is understated. Wearing a pair of black jeans and a matching T-shirt he has full command of the stage. With no need for grandiose posturing, he just lets the music do the talking. The beautiful purple EVH guitar he’s playing is the only visible sign of extravagance. The opening breathtaking solo is performed with an air of nonchalance, not dissimilar to someone changing channel on a TV remote. He makes the sublime look effortless. No prizes for guessing where he got that from.

It has only taken one song for Mammoth to win over the entire audience. Next up is the brilliant ‘You’re To Blame’, taken from their debut album. A song that features not only a stunning vocal performance but also an incredible guitar solo. ‘I’m Alright’ shows that WVH is perfectly capable of writing classic songs that will be listened to for decades. The band is watertight and the vocal harmonies sound amazing, something that always separates the men from the boys.


‘Like A Pastime’ from the new album is a class composition that features some incredible bass drum work from Whitlock. The most musically and lyrically sophisticated song of the evening is the stunning ‘Take A Bow’. The singer’s voice has unbelievable clarity and soars above the immense power of the band. They finish their painfully short set with a monstrous version of ‘Don’t Back Down’, one of the standout songs from their debut album. The adage of “leave them wanting more” is being taken to extremes this evening. It’s safe to say that the band left the stage with considerably more fans than when they started. Selfishly, I would have liked to have heard ‘Distance’, but I understand the thinking behind keeping the tempo up as an opening act.


Wolfgang has been surrounded by genius since the day he was born. I can’t even begin to imagine how being the son of the greatest guitar player in history would impact your life. But he’s his own man, well and truly carving out a name for himself, and I believe no father could be prouder of a son’s achievements.


 

Review & Photos: Myke Gray

 

Gallery: All photos © Myke Gray (used with kind permission)

 

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dean5150
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Superb talent and a future arena filler in his own right. myke you got the write up nailed couldn't agree more

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