Lita Ford, Rock Goddess – London: 02 Islington – 12 March 2017
The vast majority of the material played by Rock Goddess came from their first two albums, making it a nice familiar set for their crowd. There were, however, some green shoots of new material, most notably 'Back Off' (escalated to 'Fuck off' for the interactive part of the show, something enthusiastically taken up British Rock crowd that didn't need a second invitation to swear). There is a real gap in the market for an all-female band prepared to face gritty reality and tell it like it is with no veneer. Rock Goddess do that to perfection. They looked better than they ever did back in the day and they have the aggressive attitude to carry off Metal and blistering solos a million miles away from Babymetal – thank god! As Tracey Lamb mock machine-gunned the crowd with her bass, no one questioned their authenticity. They have credentials in spades and stacks of venom abound. Rock Goddess come from a fine tradition of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and AC/DC. I had to smile when Jody Turner promised something lighter during the set... she lied!
Lita Ford, a blonde vision in skin tight red leather, is another lady who knows how to deliver the goods and looks better with age. More polished these days as you would expect from the American roots, it is a triumphant return almost thirty years after her last London date. She had the chutzpah to play 'Balls To The Wall' as an intro and also treated us to some effortless 'Voodoo Child' from Jimi Hendrix as an intro to 'Relentless'. Tonight, she looked happy and relaxed. As she warmed up, her voice sounded great, husky and full of tone and she was undoubtedly the star as she delivered some great solos.
Her self confidence showed when she was quick to compliment her musicians and allow them to shine. Bobby Rock crossed his hands so fast his sticks looked like a Chinese fan and he rounded off with three head butts to his drums for good measure. Patrick Kennison also got to show off what a killer voice he has in the duet 'Close My Eyes Forever' (wisely he made it his own rather than attempting to imitate Ozzy Osbourne). When the three guitars got to line up and play in unison, they looked like a team and indeed when they duetted, it's the closest I've seen to guitar sex on stage!
The crowd kept shouting "love you Lita" which she acknowledged but took in her stride. When she performed her solo in 'Living Like a Runaway' it was not over showy, full of soul, eighties-influenced, yet not overdone. It finished with a nice bit of crossing guitars choreography with Kennison again showed how comfortable this band are producing a totally together show. 'Falling In And Out Of Love' was polished and beautifully executed. However, make no mistake, Ford's wild cat cry vocal and willingness to engage in scatological banter with the crowd showed she is still down to earth and not pretending to be anyone other than who she is. She has not forgotten her history and proudly shows off an original Runaways guitar during great versions of 'Cherry Bomb' and 'Black Leather' which both drew from her natural sex appeal. That said, she is in no way resting on her laurels from those days, the vast majority of her set was drawn from her solo material. 'Can't Catch Me' was hard and heavy, with a sweet interlude of softer playing by Ford, before the band returned to Armageddon; This contrast showed that she can easily move between Rock 'n' Roll fury and angel in a heartbeat. The showed finished with 'Kiss Me Deadly' and the whole crowd sang the words and we got the big Rock 'n' Roll finish with an ending that was everything it should be. Lita Ford shouted out that she hopes it will not be as long till she makes it back. The crowd tonight certainly hope so too!
Words and photo: Dawn Osborne