Written by Mike Ritchie, May 2, 2016, at 6:53 p.m.
Friday, April 29, the Taft Theatre was packed and treated to a night of powerful women behind the mic. The show featured three female fronted bands, showcased by two vocalists blazing the strings with adrenaline and attitude, and the opener delivering an alluring aura through her voice and presence. L.A.’s Dorothy, stage veteran Lita Ford who broke barriers and stereotypes, paving the way for countless women, proving immortality through music, and headliner Halestorm owned the stage. Miss Hale is a woman clearly cut from the same defiant, rebellious cloth.
The Female Fronted Bands
Dorothy graced the Jägermeister stage last year at Rock on the Range and according to Rolling Stone, they’re a band you need to know about, ranked 14th best new band out of 50 in 2014. Their debut record Rock is Dead will be out June 24 via Roc Nation. Dorothy Martin moved and glided with the spirits on stage, dressed in half grunge and half Hank, performing as if using the stage as her spiritual circle. She moved with the spirits of Joplin and channeling Grace Slick. She’s a singer that doesn’t care if you think she’s hot. She’ll make you sweat with her sultry strong pipes. Mixing Sabbath, prog and some southern spiritual comfort with strong effervescent vocal offerings they began the evening’s ceremony.
Like smooth leather, carrying a hypnotic voodoo charm, making feet wanna dance, she sang. Music influenced by delta blues, magic and mysticism, sung by a woman that’s climbed pyramids in Mexico. Musical spirit guides Zac Morris, Mark Jackson and Gregg Cash dove into most of their debut.
“Kiss It” started the evening as they slinked right into the tribal, ritual dance of “Dark Nights” perhaps in the shamans shadow but far away from Kansas. The serpent’s tail rattled with honkytonk back porch blues on “Gun in My Hand.” The things love makes us do with a scorned heart. “Wicked Ones” said this night wasn’t for the faint of heart or the holy man.
The conjuring occult vibe that started it all “After Midnight” came with vocals Louisiana swamp deep exhaled like protective, warning smoke telling us nothing good comes after the witching hour no matter what the devil behests. Though, we all gotta “Raise Hell” sometimes. The gentle loud roar of the voodoo mother’s voice rang out to lay us to rest on “Bang Bang Bang.”
The legendary femme fatale road warrior took the stage drenched in stiletto red with Stolichnaya Russian Vodka six-string in hand. The ‘80s came crashing back with “Gotta let Go” followed by the Dangerous Curves of “Larger than Life.”
For the ‘kids’ in the crowd that grew up with her and MTV, she switched guitars introducing the autobiographical “Living like A Runaway.” She dedicated “Can’t Catch Me” to Lemmy, a song co-written with the late icon.
Bobby Rock was given the spotlight performing a chain-bending solo, when the sticks weren’t enough, head-banging the drums.
She went old school bringing Dorothy back out and introduced Lzzy Hale to a screaming ovation. Hale returned the favor bowing, calling Ford the reigning queen of metal playing The Runaways “Cherry Bomb.”
The dual double-necks signaled it was time to go back to a Headbangers Ball era power ballad co-written with Ozzy. They ended with the Headbangers mainstay “Kiss me Deadly.”
With a show bathed in triangular light, Halestorm opened right Into the Wild Life with “Apocalyptic.” There are two sides to every musician, a Dr. Jekyll for every “Mz. Hyde.” Arejay Hale started “Sick Individual” proving that a little alienation and a slightly disturbed mindset could be a healthy thing.
The hell hath no fury, Grammy Award Winner “Love Bites (So Do I)” was next. Hale encouraged the crowd to let it all out. They kicked down the door with a loud defiant “Scream.” For the minority of cell phones not already out, she asked everyone to let their phones glow and lighters flicker for “I am the Fire.”
The evening’s first tune from the self-titled debut came with “Innocence.” The church doors opened as Hale asked for two loud hell-yeah’s in exchange for a louder “Amen.” Hale dedicated the evening to Miss Dorothy and Lita Ford saying they’re all living proof that ladies can do anything in life. “Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t and if they do, tell them come talk to me.”
The grand piano appeared as Hale poured out the emotion for all the ladies on “Dear Daughter.” Little girls like it loud, in the front row at the “Rock Show.” Arejay got the spotlight next with an adrenaline fueled mobile drum circle. Changing kits on stage, joined by Bobby Rock and Dorothy’s Zac Morris. Hale ended the group pounding with a pair of truly rock star sized bashing sticks.
Lzzy returned ripping into “Mayhem,” a little bedlam never hurt anyone. The classics got a nod on “I Just Wanna Make Love to You. The parallels and paradigms of control and voyeurism were spouted off on “I Get Off.”
“Cincinnati, are you a ‘Freak like Me?’” Hale raised her drinking glass, to the good and the bad “Here’s to Us.” The night ended with “I Miss the Misery.”
Images by Mike Ritchie