Down at the legendary Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT, Dirty Honey and Mammoth WVH came to the place “where the legends play” for a co-headlining night of awesomeness. I arrived to see fans lining the streets of the college town wearing both Mammoth WVH and Van Halen shirts and dressed in the ’70s style of Dirty Honey.
Young Guns Tour 2022, 27 March 2022.
Mammoth WVH, Dirty Honey, Toad’s Place, New Haven.
Words and Photography: Shannon Wilk
The line grew and grew as snow fell until finally, the doors opened around 7:00 PM. Knowing there were no opening bands for the night, the sea of people poured into the venue quickly.
“We played one co-headline show with Dirty Honey back in September,” Wolfgang Van Halen said when the original tour was announced. “As soon as the night was over, we knew this would be a great package to take across the US. We couldn’t be more excited to share the stage with them and give all of the fans an unforgettable night of rock music.”
Mammoth WVH took the stage to a sold-out crowd about an hour after the doors opened. This was my first time being exposed to the immense talent that is Mammoth WVH, and I was very impressed, to say the least.
With the influence Eddie Van Halen had on the entire rock community, I can imagine it does not compare to how he inspired his son Wolfgang Van Halen. While this is true, I was surprised by the noticeable uniqueness of Wolfie’s guitar skills.
Their self-titled debut album was released last year, which MetalTalk described as “a beautiful compendium of thumping enraged hard rock stompers and melancholic ballads.”
With this being the band’s first major tour after the release of their debut album, fans could only expect to hear songs off of that album, but there were a couple of surprises thrown in. Mammoth WVH’s kick-ass set feature eight of the 14 songs from the debut album, but fans were also treated to a new, soon to be released track, I Don’t Know At All.
An opening of Mammoth, the anthemic Mr Ed, and Epiphany, with its uplifting choruses, was a powerful and dynamic start. A solid set, performed with skill, ran through to a powerful finish. First, a beautiful tribute to the recently passed Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins with an emotional cover of the Foo Fighters hit tune My Hero, then to finish the wonderful track Don’t Back Down.
Mammoth WVH has produced music that MetalTalk described as contemporary hard rock at its finest. Wolfgang and friends delivered this to the New Haven crowd with great style.
Next up was a band that has successfully captured the attention of classic rock and modern rock fans alike over their five years together. Dirty Honey has finally embarked on their first-ever nationwide co-headline tour. As they took the stage promptly at 9:30 PM and kicked into California Dreamin’, the audience cheered with anticipatory glee for the set to come.
About a quarter through the set, the band’s vocalist Marc LaBelle approached the mic stand and shouted, “do we have any ladies in the crowd tonight? Let me hear ya!” and the women in the audience erupted into high-pitched excited ‘woos’. “This one is for you,” LaBelle says as the band begins playing Heartbreaker.
An already impressive set seemed to get better and better as the band grew into the evening. “I can already tell you guys are going to get crazy on this next one,” frontman LaBelle said as he began the monologue at the start of Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy. After an electric performance of the ’80s classic, the band took it down a bit for their ballad Another Last Time.
Unlike many bands these days, Dirty Honey’s set featured not only a stellar guitar solo but also included an earth-shaking drum solo and a distortion-y shreddy bass solo.
The night closed with the performance of the sexy ’70s influenced tune Rolling’ 7s. The band all went out into the crowd for this song, giving fans a memory of a lifetime. With the live energy of The Rolling Stones in their prime and the sound of Aerosmith at their peak, Dirty Honey put on a kick-ass set.
“An unforgettable night of rock music,” Wolfgang promised, and he was true to his word. The Young Guns tour is undoubtedly one for the record books.
Mammoth WVH Setlist
You’ll Be the One
I Don’t Know At All
Think It Over
You’re to Blame
My Hero (Foo Fighters cover) (dedicated to Taylor Hawkins)
Don’t Back Down
Dirty Honey Setlist
Down the Road
Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover)
Another Last Time
When I’m Gone
30 Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
31 The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
1 Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
3 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
5 The Ritz, Raleigh, NC
6 The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC
8 Marathon Music Works, Nashville,TN
9 The Plant, Dothan, AL
10 Hard Rock Orlando, Orlando, FL