Lizzy Borden - July 6, 2011 - The Rock House, Conventry, RI
By: Matt Coe
Long drive from my Massachusetts stomping grounds down to Coventry, RI, but well worth it to see the man, the myth, the legend Lizzy Borden and his band of traditional gentlemen for a night of theatrical excitement. The Rock House is set up more like a half-restaurant, half-bar lounge in a part of a strip mall plaza. Not the most conventional setting for a metal show, but I found the atmosphere very comfortable and the older crowd filing in would ensure a safe, friendly pit-free environment to take all of the show in. There are many memorabilia items from other hard rock and metal acts placed all along the venue, and a fitting tribute to the victims of The Station fire as you head to the bathrooms.
Opening at the last minute due to a cancellation, the cover band Metal 101 rolled through a series of 80’s power and traditional metal material as well as a couple of classic hard rock tracks. Running the gamut from W.A.S.P.’s “I Wanna Be Somebody” to Helloween’s “I Want Out,” the better material seemed to be Judas Priest’s “Screaming For Vengeance” and closer “South Of Heaven” made famous by Slayer. Both guitar players knew how to solo with finesse, and the crowd would sing along in spots. The drummer seemed to rely on the ride cymbal a lot and struggled to hit a number of the fills (their Metallica medley put the spot light on some of these shortcomings). After 45 minutes, I think most were ready for Lizzy Borden to hit the stage.
Going on at 10:45pm, they proceed to rip through a wide selection of their discography, opening with “Tomorrow Never Dies” from their latest Appointment With Death record and then reaching into the back catalog early for follow up cut “Red Rum.” Lizzy opens singing the first two songs with a large cap that also covers his face, but quickly changes into a series of masks as the show moves along. Other essentials we knew we would hear include “Visual Lies” (complete with Lizzy breaking through a television prop), “There Will Be Blood” (where he executed a local “Lizzy Girl” from the stage and passed out blood from a skull through the front row of the crowd), “Me Against the World”, and “American Metal.”
It didn’t matter to the five-piece that they were playing in front of smaller club crowd that numbered in the lower three digit range. The faithful were happy to scream, shout, pump their fists in the air and sing along to every key verse and chorus. Bringing a mini-stage to place on top of everything else allowed Lizzy and his band mates to feel 10 feet tall - adequate for killer photo opportunities from all in the club. “Eyes Of A Stranger” appeared tailor made for all aspects with most of the patrons inside the building. We also received ample solos from bassist Marten Andersson, guitarists Dario Lorina and AC Alexander plus mainstay drummer Joey Scott which acted as breathers while many of the costume changes took place. “Master of Disguise” is another requisite number, along with the very commercial sounding “We Got The Power”.
The sad part? Just as the band would launch into their only selection from Menace To Society - “Notorious”- a fire alarm would resound in the building and everyone had to make a safe exit into the streets. We only got to hear about 30 seconds of the song before being escorted out, the band unaware at the time of the proceedings. No worry, though- no actual fire, but kind of a sad ending to an otherwise highly entertaining show. Lizzy and his bandmates stalk the stage as if they are playing to arenas, keeping the fans engaged and involved as much as humanly possible.
If you gain the chance to see this band, please do so- not just for historical sake, but to understand that you can play great metal and have an entertaining stage show all in one.