GIG REVIEW: Angel Vivaldi & Nita Strauss Live at The Loving Touch, Ferndale, MI
Fretboard wizards Angel Vivaldi and Nita Strauss used their mind-blowing creativity and artistry to dazzle the crowd with guitar pyrotechnics at the Loving Touch in Ferndale on November 25th.
Tonight’s show is an early stop on this year’s run of the Guitar Collective. This is the second year of the Guitar Collective tour which was started by Angel Vivaldi to showcase emerging instrumental guitarists using their magic on the fretboard to amaze and entertain fans of shredding guitar music. You can think of it as a modern version of G3 that allows guitar aficionados to discover new artists and witness for themselves their boundless imagination and skills. This year’s Guitar Collective features Angel Vivaldi, Nita Strauss, and Jacky Vincent.
Getting the festivities off with a shot of modern rock infused instrumental guitar was Cole Rolland. Cole hales from Ontario, Canada and in just a few years has amassed a huge following on Youtube due to his impressive musical talents. He quickly grabbed the attention of the audience with his nimble fretwork. His upbeat and positive music radiated through his performance. I dare say that Cole garnered a few more fans with this show.
Next up was the shredding wunderkind, Jacky Vincent. Jacky recently released a new solo instrumental album called ‘Life Imitating Art’. To see and hear him play in person is stunning. Jacky is known for his precision picking and incredible sweep technique which he showcased for the fans. His playing was as fluid as a river running down a valley. Jacky effortlessly blended metal with jazz fusion in a dizzying performance. His soulful almost Santana-esque piece at the end of his set provided a glimpse into his diverse musical repertoire.
With cellphones in hand, fans pushed closed to the stage to witness the metal guitar god Nita Strauss and her band in action. Nita is supporting her first solo album ‘Controlled Chaos’ on her first solo tour. Headbanging and fingers flying, Nita pushed the envelope of sound by tearing into “Mariana Trench”, “Lion Among Wolves”, and “The Quest”.
She paid tribute to her current employer, Alice Cooper with a rocking version of “I’m Eighteen”. She also gave a shout out to Freddie Mercury before her amazing cover of “The Show Must Go On”. Live and on stage is where Nita thrives. The new music from her solo album gets a huge boost of intensity when you experience it in the flesh. Helping Nita ensure she delivered maximal carnage on stage was Christopher Dean (bass), Jay Tarantino (guitar), and Josh Villalta (drums). Sadly, it was very tough to see Josh given the epic fog that swamped the stage. You could barely see the guy standing next to you, much less Josh working his ass off behind the kit.
Finally, it was guitar maestro Angel Vivaldi’s turn to unleash a sonic tsunami of instrumental metal fury. Joining Angel for the onslaught was Jay Tarantino (guitar) and Anthony Barone (drums). The crowd was in the palm on his hand as he launched into songs from his latest ‘Synapse’ album including “Adrenaline” and “Endorphin”. The most moving piece was his tribute to the late Oli Herbert by playing the song they collaborated on called “Dopamine”. Angel played to the audience with visual intensity. Jay and Anthony did a fantastic job filling out each song and adding their own impressive musical chops.
Angel invited Nita and Jacky out to the stage to bring this stop of the Guitar Collective to a climax. All three guitarists traded off one magical riff after another. They hammed it up with each other and genuinely looked like they were having a great time jamming for us. It was everything a guitar fan could want to close out a great show.
The Guitar Collective 2018 tour featuring Angel Vivaldi and Nita Strauss with special guest Jacky Vincent was pedal smashed to the floor guitar insanity. These artists displayed a phenomenal level of musical talent that left everyone in the audience with the mouths hanging open in mute amazement. It is heartwarming to see a new generation of guitar heroes spreading their music to the masses.