By Fred Peth
I have seen Nita Strauss play numerous times in Alice Cooper’s band and I was excited to see her play on her first solo tour. This was also her first time she played in Chicago. So what better way for this exciting night than to experience it for my first time going to the Wire in Berwyn. Wire has a great layout and sound quality to it making this an excellent spot for the Guitar Collective 2018. Nita and renowned soloist Angel Vivaldi are co-headlining each night of the tour.
Nita first started playing guitar, because of instrumental guitar music, so it makes complete sense that her debut solo album and first solo tour is an instrumental one. She definitely had command of the crowd as she ran onto the stage to applause and screams from the fans. Her touring band backed her during the night. Josh Villalta (drums), her boyfriend and only other musician on her debut solo album Controlled Chaos; Jay (guitar) and Dean (bass).
Just like when she is touring with Alice Cooper, she interacts with the crowd when she gets her chance to take center stage. This time she had the whole stage to run back and forth on, while getting the crowd hyped up. Her and her band mate’s playing ability unquestionably kept the crowd’s attention throughout the whole night. She paid homage to the greatest showman in the music business and her “boss” Alice Cooper during their cover of “I’m Eighteen” (video of that, click here).
The songs had a strong intensity and melodic feel to them live. Her and her crew put together a great album that translates great hearing it in-person. All the hard work paid off of doing the record herself and not having to answer to anyone about her creative choices.
Josh’s drum solo came during the song “The Quest”. It kept up with the high-speed feel of the night and his skills did not waver. His arms moved from the drums to the cymbals and back again. Periodically Josh would stand up while he was playing to motion to the crowd to tell them to get louder.
Nita closed out her set with the first single, “Our Most Desperate Hour”, from the Controlled Chaos album. Her set ended on a high note to the crowd cheering and screaming for more. It is always fun to watch a guitarist’s fingers move up and down the fretboard. Earlier this year, Ibanez made her the fist female to become a signature artist with their guitars.
As many of us know in the music industry, Nita has the staying power of any prodigious instrumental guitarist. From seeing her first solo tour, she can put together a great band and hopefully she continues to write more music for her next instrumental album.
For more on Nita Strauss and The Guitar Collective Tour, click here
For photos from the show at Wire, click here
For a video from the show at Wire, click here
Setlist: The Guitar Collective Tour Featuring Nita Strauss, Angel Vivaldi and Jacky Vincent at Wire in Berwyn, IL 11-27-18