The “Young Guns Tour” — featuring co-headliners Mammoth WVH and Dirty Honey — rolled into New York City on Monday (March 28th). On an unseasonably frigid night, the two upstart acts brought the heat with an evening of “no bullshit” rock ‘n’ roll, as Mammoth frontman Wolfgang Van Halen would say from the stage.
Both bands are out in support of their debut albums, each released in 2021. And both acts are assuming the headlining role after high profile 2021 support slots, with Mammoth opening for Guns N’ Roses and Dirty Honey doing the same for The Black Crowes. The current tour launched in late February and runs through an April 10th show in Orlando, with tickets available here.
Prior to Dirty Honey’s set at Webster Hall, a familiar New York face was seen in the balcony. Legendary New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was hanging out with a few friends, looking like he was ready to rock out for the night. Dirty Honey vocalist Marc LaBelle was a standout hockey player in school before choosing a rock ‘n’ roll career, so perhaps there was some synergy there.
Taking the stage first, Dirty Honey brought the rock from the get-go, starting with the song “Gypsy.” Lead singer LaBelle hasn’t been shy about professing his love for Aerosmith, and there’s a clear Steven Tyler influence in both his vocals and his stage presence — although he looks more like a long-haired Bradley Cooper. And like Aerosmith, the lead guitarist gets plenty of turns in the spotlight, as John Notto (looking like a young early Black Sabbath-era Ozzy Osbourne) delivered a multitude of solos throughout the set.
The spirited “Fire Away” and “California Dreamin'” were early highlights of the set, as LaBelle showed off a wide vocal range on both songs. And Dirty Honey’s one cover of the night — a hard-rocking re-working of the Prince classic “Let’s Go Crazy” — reprised the performance the band filmed for the NHL Winter Classic back in January.
With hockey vibes already in the air, toward the end of the set, LaBelle mentioned that he had a special friend in the house. As he put on a New York Rangers jersey, the singer introduced the aforementioned Lundqvist — who wasn’t just there to take in the music, but also to jam with Dirty Honey. The NHL great, who recently had his number retired by the New York Rangers, strapped on a guitar to play “The Wire” with the band — looking very comfortable as he showed off his impressive six-string skills.
After Lundqvist left the stage to a big round of applause, Dirty Honey closed out the night with two of their biggest hits — “When I’m Gone” and “Rolling 7s” — capping off a fun-filled set that gave the audience a taste of what it must’ve been like to witness some of classic rock’s biggest acts during their formative years.
It was then time for Mammoth WVH to hit the stage. While Wolfgang Van Halen sang and played all the instruments on Mammoth’s self-titled debut, he is joined on tour by a very strong backing band that includes guitarist Jon Jourdan, bassist Ronnie Ficarro, and drummer Garrett Whitlock.
Fans were first introduced to Mammoth by the heartfelt and melodic single “Distance” — which Wolfgang dedicated to his legendary father, the late Eddie Van Halen — but that song is not indicative of the band’s overall sound. Mammoth WVH are very much a hard-rock act, delivering a surprising amount of thunder right from the start of their set, appropriately kicking things off with the song “Mammoth.”
Among the set’s highlights was a standout performance of the song “Stone,” a sludgy, somewhat experimental departure in sound from the rest of the tunes. Fans were also treated to the new song “I Don’t Know at All,” which wasn’t included on the debut album.
While Wolfgang was himself a member of Van Halen for a number of years, there are very few musical nods to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band. Aside from some EVH amps onstage and a brief mention that the song “Think It Over” was his dad’s favorite, this was fully Wolfgang’s show, completely separate from his past and without one Van Halen note during the entire set.
Following the aforementioned “Distance,” Wolfgang addressed the crowd to pay tribute to Taylor Hawkins, as he had first done in Boston two nights earlier following the Foo Fighters drummer’s tragic death on Friday. Again, Wolfgang called Taylor a “hero,” this time adding one more mention of Eddie: “After my dad passed away, [Hawkins] was such a champion of his legacy.”
Then, in a spot in the set the band had previously been reserving for a cover of Alice in Chains’ “Them Bones,” Wolfgang introduced a cover of Foo Fighters’ “My Hero,” explaining that it would now be a permanent fixture in the set until the end of the tour. Like they did in Boston on Saturday and in New Haven, Connecticut, on Sunday, Mammoth WVH rocked a stirring rendition of the Foo Fighters classic, with Wolfgang’s voice soaring during the anthemic chorus. It was a powerful tribute, to say the least, that ended with the crowd chanting Taylor Hawkins’ name.
Mammoth WVH then closed out the set with their No. 1 rock single “Don’t Back Down,” putting a cap on a night featuring two bands out to prove that rock’s not dead.
See our photos of Mammoth WVH and Dirty Honey in the gallery below, followed by video highlights from the show and our pre-tour video interview with Wolfgang Van Halen and Marc LaBelle, plus the setlists for both bands. Pick up tickets to the remaining shows on the “Young Guns Tour” here.
Photo Gallery – Mammoth WVH and Young Guns at NYC’s Webster Hall (click to enlarge and scroll through):
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
Bass Solo / Drum Solo / Guitar Solo
Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover)
Another Last Time
The Wire (with Hockey great Henrik Lundquist)
When I’m Gone