I’m always psyched to see ANGEL VIVALDI live. Not only is he a very nice person, he is an absolute monster on stage. This time he brought The Guitar Collective 2018 to Trees Dallas. For those dedicated \m/etalheads who came out in the cold and wet, they were glad they did. Co-headlining the show was NITA STRAUSS with support coming from up and coming axester JACKY VINCENT on this tour.
If there is an opportunity to do a meet and greet, I’m there. I’ve met some really cool people and some real asswipes as well. Most times the bands are lined up on a table, people bring things to sign and then there is a photo session at the end. Kind of a sterile thing, usually. You can tell they have done this a thousand times. However, as classy as is VIVALDI, a couch was pulled up for he and Nita, about 15 chairs formed in a semicircle about them and we got to visit with them for about an hour asking whatever we wanted.
I will tell you that both Angel and Nita are very kind and warm people and had total respect for all of us. Topics ranged from Nita’s viewpoint about touring solo to both of them discussing their new signature guitars. Their personalities do a 180 when they hit the stage, however. They go from mild-mannered and approachable to insane redeyed, crazed axe-slingers. Kicking things off were local bands AESOP and THE ADAM NAÑEZ BAND. Neither had I heard before, but both very solid. AESOP is more melodic while NAÑEZ kicks major \m/etal ass.
One thing that I really admire about VIVALDI on these GC tours is that he brings a relatively unknown guitarist with him who can really knock it out of the park and help give them exposure. This year it is JACKY VINCENT. I met him at the merch table and thought he was the merch guy, but he was selling his own stuff. He introduced himself as being on the GC tour. Needless to say I was embarrassed as hell, but we rolled with it. Voted Guitarist of the Year in 2012 by AP Magazine, once VINCENT hit the stage, he was incredible with his Telecaster. Not flashy, but he’s as nice a guy as you could meet.
NITA STRAUSS absolutely stole the night. As was pointed out to me by my friend Bobby Michaelides (BLACKOUT) and I agree, she has the “it” on stage. Not only is she a nice human being, but one hell of a performer. To see NITA STRAUSS in person, just blows the mind. We all know her background with ALICE COOPER and the IRON MAIDENS. She introduced many of her new songs off her latest album Controlled Chaos (Sumerian Records) including “Alegria”, “Mariana Trench” and COOPER cover “I’m Eighteen”.
The best song of the night was her tribute to the late Freddie Mercury with the QUEEN cover “The Show Must Go On”. So impressive and emotional. All I can say is if Nita comes remotely near you, make the effort to go see her. You can’t possibly be disappointed, unless you don’t go.
What can I say about VIVALDI? This is my third time seeing him live. His newest release Synapse (self released) is excellent. His set list included “Dopamine” and “Serotonin” which he shares with STRAUSS not only on stage, but on the album and the song’s respective video. VIVALDI and STRAUSS entertained us all with some of those video dance during the song. It is quite obvious they really enjoy each other’s company.
Honorable mention is to Jay Tarantino (ETHERIUS) who has been on tour with VIVALDI for about nine years. Jay is not only a fantastic guitarist in his own right, but accompanied both VIVALDI and STRAUSS during their respective setlists. If you know how many notes are in each song, well that’s impressive.
Ending the evening, Vivaldi, Strauss, Vincent and Tarantino jammed together. As if they turned the volume up times two, an all out frenzy of nuclear assault ensued. When I left, Trees was in shambles, my ears were ringing, and I had a huge smile on my face. It was an incredible night and a complete honor for yours truly to cover. One of the best gigs of the year. Salude’.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH/M EHRLICH PHOTOGRAPHY