Nita Strauss / Starbenders / Diamante @ Granada Theater Dallas Texas

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
If one could associate a name with the phrase, “anything boys can do, girls can do better” that name would be Nita Strauss! Over the past twenty years she has put some hard work into her craft, but that effort has molded her into the best female guitar player on the planet! In 2014, Alice Cooper acquired her services as a member of his touring band. Through the rigors of touring, she has worked in two solo albums and numerous guest appearances on other artists albums. On this solo, headlining tour she has brought along some female fronted support acts as well. So, it’s on with the show!

Setting the evening’s pace, Diamante brought us a short but sweet eight song set. “Bite Your Kiss” immediately established her vocal talents that reminded one of a young Pat Benatar. Her voice could be equated to a glass of bourbon, smooth going down with a nice burn on the end. Speaking of Pat Benatar, she works in a spot-on cover of “Love is a Battlefield.” After her time on stage she was seen in the lobby, forty-five minutes later, with a long line of new admirers, waiting for autographs and selfies.

Up next was the Atlanta based foursome Starbenders. They brought an updated interpretation of seventies glam rock to the Granada Theater. They played a mix of songs from their “Love Potions” album including the songs “Holy Mother” and “Bitches Be Witches”, plus a good selection from their most recent album Take Back the Night such as “Blood Moon” and “Seven White Horses”. One perceived those who weren’t familiar with the band were trying to decide if they loved it or it just wasn’t their cup of tea.

Just as suspected, Nita Strauss and her band hit the Dallas night with a bang and a roar! Bringing the fury straight out of the gate she opens with the power packed instrumental, “Summer Storm.” The dexterity of Nita’s fingers are on full display as the rock goddess glides seamlessly into, “Our Most Desperate Hour.” Pausing briefly, Strauss addresses the packed venue stating this was her fourth time in the Dallas area in eight months. The crowd gave out roar as she declares, “we keep coming back because you guys know how to make a fucking rock and roll show happen!”

Her band is top notch and flaunt their talent during the incredible three-and-a-half-minute voyage that is “Miriana Trench.” Members consist of fiancé Josh Villalta on drums, Johnny Young on rhythm guitar, Christopher Dean on bass and Katt Scarlett on Keyboards. This section of the show included most of the material from her first album, Controlled Chaos. Before commencing “Pandemonium”, Strauss tells the tale of being commissioned by her hero, Steve Vai, who was shopping for songs to include on a compilation album. The guitar deity further explains this is the first piece of music she ever wrote.

Letting the fretboard cool down ever so slightly, the six-string superhero takes a seat, on the vanity riser mid-stage to perform, “Kintsugi.” She declares this song to be a love letter to her fans. If you think for a moment this hour-long set is slowing down, you are unfortunately mistaken. Kasey Karlsen of the NY-based metalcore band Deadlands joined in to supply vocals for “The Golden Trail”, “Through the Noise”, and a rock radio number one “Dead Inside”. The riff mistress was seldom standing still, as her head was continuously banging while those Ibanez guitars got a serious workout.

Karlsen wore many hats for the second half of the evening, covering for many of the guest artist found on 2023’s, The Call of the Void. If had one critique of her appearance, I would tell her to stop trying so hard. Occasionally it felt like her voice was overpowering the music. Strauss claims this outing has been a rough one, but they couldn’t be happier to be coming home to Dallas before the end of the tour.

Capping off the night Nita segues a cover of Pantera’s, “Cowboys From Hell” by saying she spotted someone wearing an Abbott brothers T-shirt. To further excite everyone, Karlsen proclaims this to be Pantera country. With my ears satisfactorily ringing, even with hearing protection I feel I’ve just seen one hell of a rock show!

Thanks to Nita Strauss and her crew for allowing MTC MAG to be front and center. And as always a big thanks to Granada Theater for making it happen!

Photos of the show are below:

Nita Strauss
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Nita Strauss / Starbenders / Diamante @ Granada Theater Dallas Texas Nita Strauss / Starbenders / Diamante @ Granada Theater Dallas Texas Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on March 25, 2024 Rating: 5
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