MAMMOTH WVH & DIRTY HONEY @ The Rave – Milwaukee, WI

MAMMOTH WVH & DIRTY HONEY @ The Rave / Eagles Club – Milwaukee, WI

March 15, 2022

Review by Rick Kramer
Photos by David Urmanski

One of the best and busiest venues in America, The Rave was the place to be as Mammoth WVH and Dirty Honey made their highly-anticipated return to Brew City since both bands debuted in Milwaukee at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater late last summer when Mammoth WVH performed a sensational set as supporting act for Guns N’ Roses and Dirty Honey delighted the Milwaukee crowd as the opener for The Black Crowes. As expected, the show was jam packed with admiring listeners and onlookers of two of the most dynamic rock bands today as they joined forces to co-headline the Young Guns Tour, rotating the opening and closing spot throughout the tour.

Fronted by multi-instrumentalist, Wolfgang Van Halen, Grammy nominated Mammoth WVH took the stage first Tuesday night starting off with opening number “Mammoth” which proved to be a fitting choice to get the crowd amped up with its heavy arena rock sound and catchy melody despite being a song about anxiety and depression. With lyrics like, “…anything is possible…” and “…stand up and fight…” the chorus is very encouraging and may share similar significance associated with the pressure Wolf may have experienced having to step out from the massive shadow cast by his father… the mighty Eddie Van Halen. The song also featured one of many dual leads shared throughout the evening by Van Halen and fellow shredder Jon Jourdan from the band To Whom It May. After a huge ending, the newly minted front man walked to the edge of the stage with raised arms in what could easily be construed as a victory or celebration, or both.

Upon pointed to the crowd, slowly moving his arm to span across the entire venue from right to left, Wolf launched into the opening riff of “Mr. Ed” as bassist Ronnie Ficarro, from Falling in Reverse fame, got the crowd clapping to the beat of the kick drum. The band delivered the goods again, captivating the entire club as they proceeded to nod and tap their feet to the infectious groove. Wolf played a flawless solo, complete with pitch bends and finger tapping that sounded oddly reminiscent to his previous band before finishing off the song with a final big chorus.

Drummer Garrett Whitlock, best known as member of Tremonti, kicked off the next song “Epiphany” with its very distinctive beat with Ronnie adding in the bass line after a couple bars. Now behind the keyboard with guitar still strapped on, Wolf took a moment to say “Hi” to the enthusiastic and spirited crowd flashing a wide, very familiar grin. After welcoming the cheering audience, he announced, “We’re Mammoth and were gonna play some music for you. You guys cool with that?” The roar that followed proved to be a resounding and pleasing response to the still-smiling Wolfgang Van Halen as he kicked the song off in earnest. Having released “Epiphany” prior to the tour, the audience was well acquainted with the tune and gleefully sang along.

“Horribly Right” was next on the docket after another shout-out to Milwaukee. Wolf invoking Alice Cooper’s pronunciation of “Mee-lee-wau-K” from the movie Wayne’s World and then asking “How are you guys doing?” After the raucous reply, he responded in kind with “You guys are fucken ready!” and then further goading the crowd by adding, “All right, let’s fucken go! We are Mammoth and we are here to fuck shit up!” Wolf, now playing his soon to be released white semi-hollow body signature guitar with the F-hole converted to a E-hole in honor of his late father, let one final chord ring out which garnered just the right amount of feedback to set up the intro to “You’ll Be the One” which featured a short but blistering solo by the young gun.

Back behind the keyboard before introducing the next track, “Stone”, Wolf took a moment to talk about his approach and why there was a keyboard. “I don’t want to play tracks,” he said, adding “I don’t want to fake shit. So even if it’s two small parts in two songs, I’m not gonna do that to you. I’m gonna fucken play it for you.” The howling audience clearly approved while Wolf continued, “That’s what I like about Dirty Honey too. They’re a real live fucken rock band. You’re listening to real live rock ‘n roll. Isn’t that cool? That’s how it should be!”

“This next one was my dad’s favorite,” was the brief introduction to “Think it Over,” inspired by alt/emo rockers Jimmy Eat World. The band slayed it and as the last chord rang out, Wolf, once again, used the overdriven feedback as a lead it to “You’re Too Blame,” taking the audience back to familiar heavy guitar riff territory featuring the young Van Halen shredding amazing chops in line with his pedigree.

A highlight of the Milwaukee show was the opportunity for the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to Wolf’s girlfriend, Andrea, who could be seen throughout the set in the pit snapping photos. It was an organic moment that began with the crowd trying to sing “Happy Birthday” to Wolf, whose birthday was the following day. He rebuked the accolade, pointing out that “It’s not my birthday,” but then excitedly asked the crowd if they would sing for Andrea, which the eager crowd embraced after a 1-2-3 count in from Wolf. Andrea then entered stage left and the cute couple shared a hug and a kiss. Mammoth WVH then finished out their set with Alice In Chains staple “Them Bones” in which the boys brilliantly nailing the vocal harmonies, followed by the hit “Don’t Back Down” which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio and the perfect finale to the band’s set.

After a brief intermission, during which the crowd didn’t even budge in anticipation for what was soon to come, Dirty Honey drummer Corey Coverstone manned his kit centered in the middle of the stage half-way back. With the platform no longer having to house gear for two bands, there was plenty of room for vocalist Marc LaBelle, guitarist John Notto and bassist Justin Smolian to use the stage to their full advantage.

Dressed in vintage-inspired garb, the Los Angeles rockers hit the stage like they were shot out of a cannon. The band’s energy was contagiously electric and their stage presence was on another level par with rock legends like Aerosmith and Notto’s favorite band Guns N’ Roses. Unrestrained, LaBelle, moved and grooved all over the stage, often holding his mic stand, which was part baton, part staff and part dance partner, out into the crowd to prompt the audience to sing along.

Named an “Artist You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone and nominated as the Best New Rock/Alternative Artist for the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards, Dirty Honey’s ’70s-inspired classic hard rock sound is making waves and inspiring a “classic rock revival” as suggested by Rolling Stone in June, 2020. To say they are “old school” may depict their 70’s vibe, but the band is still right at home in modern rock radio.

Opening with “California Dreamin,” the band proceeded to lay out about a dozen strong rocking ditties, depending on how you count the medley of extended solos. Included in their set were a mix of tunes from their self-titled debut EP released in March 2019 and their full-length, self-titled album “Dirty Honey” released last year to include mainstream hits “Tied-Up,” “Gypsy,” “The Wire” and “Another Last Time” in addition to their recent 2022 release of Prince cover “Let’s Go Crazy” which drew abundant applause Tuesday evening.

Dirty Honey performed at a blistering pace that kept the crowd engaged and howling from start to finish. As their set moved closer to the end, bandmates started to disappear from stage as the crowd became euphoric and blown away as individual members were left alone to serenade the audience with wildly monstrous solos, starting with Justin on bass guitar before moving on to Corey’s drum solo and finally John’s guitar solo. Likewise, LaBelle found his way from one side to the other side of the pit with plenty of stops in between to court the crowd of concert-goers into joining him in song.

To the crowds admiration, Notto and Smolian quickly joined LaBelle in the pit to play the finale “Rolling 7s” up close and personal with the fans. The crowd lit up and audience members quickly turned their phone cameras around to capture shoulder-to-shoulder selfies with the band so they could enjoy the momentous live musical moment for all prosperity. After the final bow, the audience streamed out of the hall fully energized after having witnessed two amazing performances and confident that the future of rock ‘n roll is in good hands as long as these Young Guns continue their ride.

Mr. Ed
Horribly Right
You’ll Be the One
I Don’t Know At All
Think it Over
You’re to Blame
Them Bones (Alice in Chains cover)
Don’t Back Down

California Dreamin
The Wire
Fire Away/Scars/Take My hand
Tied Up
Down the Road
Let’s Go Crazy
When I’m Gone
Rolling 7s


The Rave is a premiere multi-level, multi-venue, entertainment complex conveniently located off highway 94 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin hosting hundreds of concerts each year. The Rave/Eagles Club houses seven venues (The Eagles Ballroom, The Rave, The Eagles Ballroom Club Stage, The Eagles Penthouse Lounge, The Eagles Hall, The Rave Bar, and The Rave Craft Beer Lounge) ranging in capacity from 400 to 4000 people.

The Rave/Eagles Club is highlighted by the spectacular Eagles Ballroom featuring an elegant 25,000 square foot dance floor and a stunning balcony that circles the ballroom. From the elegant domed ceiling to the eagle sculptures and intricate trim on the pillars, a concert at the Eagles Ballroom is a truly spectacular experience.  Over the past decades, The Rave/Eagles Club has hosted some of the biggest names in rock, pop, electronic, and alternative music as well as many up and coming acts and regional bands from Wisconsin, Illinois and surrounding areas.

Address:  2401 West Wisconsin Avenue - Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233

Phone:  (414) 342-7283


Upcoming Concerts & Tickets:

Hours:  The Rave box office is open 10am to 6pm Monday thru Friday and 1pm on Saturday and Sunday if there is a show. The box office remains open until 10pm on show nights.