Severe Weather hits KC with ‘Hurricane’ Nita

Nita Strauss at the Encore Room at Uptown Theater in Kansas City. Photo by Josh Chaikin

Sunday night was a night for music. While many people were recovering from their food comas, or spending too much money on Black Friday specials, we made our way to the Uptown Theater. For once we were not in the main hall, but a tiny space in the bar, where we would imbibe before so many shows…The Encore Room. With a capacity of 250, that was easily met, which certainly made the band (and Fire Marshall) very happy.

Things started a little early for us, at 6 PM, as we had purchased the VIP experience, giving us admission to the meet & greet with Nita Strauss before the show. Around 20 people attended, with Nita taking 25 minutes for questions, and another 30 for photos and autographs. (Naturally, I printed some photos from the Alice Cooper show in October for the occasion).

Nita and her band were in high spirits; the day before her appearance in Kansas City, Nita became the first solo female artist to hit the top 10 in 26 years. Of course I’m referring to her collaboration Dead Inside with Disturbed frontman, David Draiman.

With boyfriend and manager Josh Villalta on drums, and Christopher Dean on bass, the trio brings together a tight set of guitar-centric classics, and original material. Opening with an incredible cover of the Power Rangers theme, Nita also treated us to material we’ve come to love from her solo work, like Lion Among Wolves from Controlled Chaos.

It wasn’t all guitar, of course; Nita played her chart-topper, using a vocal track from David, to great response from the audience. As a huge fan of Queen, I was thrilled to her Nita’s take on Show Must go On. With only bass and drums to help (and Josh, and Christopher played their parts perfectly), Nita navigated both lead guitar, and vocal melody, singly. A perfect balance of the two was struck, and I have no doubt the boys would be proud.

Things wouldn’t be complete without some music by “the boss” (as Nita affectionately refers to Alice). Joining her on stage was vocalist Larissa Vale from Black Satellite, who opened on the tour, for a rendition of Feed My Frankenstein. It was a welcome addition for those in attendance, many of whom were undoubtedly at the show in Topeka earlier.

The small stage at the Encore seemed to hold Nita back, who performs with a lot of energy. Two or three steps either way and she was at the edge. For fans of shredding guitar, you’d be hard-pressed to be disappointed in “Hurricane” Nita’s show; she lives up to her name, and hits like a force of nature. If there’s anything, to complain about, it’s just that at an hour long, the show is too short.

Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin

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