I was excited to get to see NITA STRAUSS on her solo tour and super excited that she was bringing along Lions at the Gate. I have seen Nita numerous times when she was a member of the Iron Maidens and had a monthly show at Green Valley Ranch casino in Vegas, and got to photograph Nita a few times when she came to Vegas as part of the Alice Cooper band, so I was psyched to see her play again solo.
LIONS AT THE GATE is a new band formed by former members of ILL NINO, Diego Verduzco on guitar, Cristian Machado on vocals and Ahrue Luster on guitar, and also in the band are Stephen Brewer on bass and Fern Lemus on drums. The band will be releasing their debut album in August titled The Excuses We Can Not Make. Christian is
a formidle singer who has an intensity that makes you take a step back just so you can take in what you are seeing. With long flowing dreads Christian moves non stop
onstage as he and his bandmates deliver a very impressive show of hard and heavy songs, and makes you question how this band is an opener and not a headliner. Most impressive was the bands final song the epic “Find My Way”, which featured my fav hardcore female singer Tatiana Shmailyuk of the band Jinjer. Only bad part of the bands set on this night was the sound was off, and early into their set the drums overpowered the guitars and vocals some, and the lighting was way darker than the other bands on the show. A powerful force on the metal scene, Lions at the Gate is a must see show when they come to your town.
LIONS AT THE GATE SETLIST:
NITA STRAUSS brought the Summer Storm 2023into the house, telling the crowd this was her first time playing Vegas as a solo artist, and could not be more appreciative of the support from her fans in welcoming her and her band to The Space. The first half of Nita’s show was all instrumental, and this is where she really shined and showcased just how far she has come since her days in the Iron Maidens, and Nita knows how to play up to the crowd. Equally unimpressive is her band, composed of her fiance Josh Villalta on drums, Johnny Young on
guitar, Christopher Dean on bass, Katt Scarlett on keyboards and a very
impressive 21 year old Kasey Karlsen
on vocals. Kasey Karlsen did not hit the stage until the 2nd half of the show, and she made the most of her time and showcased why Nita chose her for this tour. Kasey said this was her very first tour, and to not let anyone tell you that you can not attain your dreams - just look, here she is touring and singing for Nita Strauss. At times Kasey
reminded me of Tatiana from Jinjer in the way she would arch her back and scream her vocals. One of the big surprises of the night was the closing song by Nita and her band, a killer version of Pantera's “Cowboys from Hell”. A great show in a great music venue and huge congrats to Nita and the success her solo album The Call of the Void released this summer.
NITA STRAUSS SETLIST:
Cowboys From Hell
Nita Strauss photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFanPhotos
Lions At The Gate photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFanPhotos