Lizzy Borden @ The Bell House (6/1/2010)

You know you are in for an entertaining night when Lizzy Borden comes a calling and wishes to give the Metal Republic forty whacks. It’s been a little over a year since we caught the band when they opened up for Lordi over at Irving Plaza which was at the time called The Fillmore NY (thank the Metal gods that they changed that name back) so I was looking forward to seeing them in action again. To see photos and review text from that Monster Mash of a Metal time just click HERE. There were also a couple of other reasons that this show piqued my interest and they included the band Black Water Rising who were opening up and that the entire affair would be held at The Bell House which was a new venue to me. You can read our views about the gig and enjoy all of the photos by clicking the bands logo below, and then continue on for some other stuff that’s only presented in this blog posting.

Logo - Lizzy Borden

Artist: Lizzy Borden
Venue: The Bell House (Brooklyn, NY)
Opener: Black Water Rising
Date: 6/1/2010
Label: Metal Blade Records

This evening’s entertainment sure got off to a very rocky start and there was no doubt about it. First of all, the venue called The Bell House while being a relatively new one was still growing in popularity but as one of my friends had said, was not really the place for a knock down Metal show. With this in mind I had a lot of curiosity when the L.A. maniac Lizzy Borden and the band that bore his name had announced that a gig would be happening here. The venue is located in Brooklyn and not too far away from my home so in some sense I was looking forward to a shorter trek home depending on the hour that the show would actually end.

Black Water Rising: There’s been quite a buzz going on around the guys in Black Water Rising and to date I had only heard the tune “Brother Go On” which I rather liked. They recently signed with Giddy Up! Records which is an independent label under the Sony Music megabrand unless I am mistaken. Musically the best way to view these guys is as a solid Groove Metal outfit that delivers a powerful guitar driven Hard Rock/Metal with a similar vibe to that of bands like Black Label Society and perhaps even Corrosion Of Conformity in some sense. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Rob Traynor, who I remembered from a band called Dust To Dust, the band is a four-piece powerhouse that includes John Fattoruso (Stereomud), Mike “Dread” Meselsohn, and Oddie McLaughlin in the lineup. I had to say that I was equally interested in catching them since a number of my friends had been singing their praises and while I often like to form my own views about a group these were voices that I respected very much so it merited some deeper investigation. The downside of all the frenetic cancelling and un-cancelling of this particular show was visible from the moment that the guys hit the stage and got ready to showcase their sound to an audience of fifty patrons at the most. “Welcome to our rehearsal” laughed Traynor as the band just got into what they do best and performed as if there were five hundred or five thousand in front of them. The sound was tight and I had to say “dead on” from what I had heard in their posted streams and I applauded that since far too many bands get up there and fail to deliver. The guys chugged through about eight numbers which gave the audience a fair example of their debut full length release. They played the stellar “Brother Go On” and another new favorite of mine in “Living Proof” and also treated the crowd assembled with “We Are The Authority”. After watching this set it was safe to say that if a dose of pure, back to basics Metal is your deal, then you start grab yourself a copy of this debut album and start supporting them at the shows. I had to say that I was pretty honored to see something this good coming out of my hometown Brooklyn. Good luck guys, now it was time to enjoy a little bit of Lizzy.

Lizzy Borden: Before Lizzy came out I had my hopes up that a last minute rush of people would come piling in but this was not to be the case. The crowd didn’t grow much past the fifty that I determined were watching BWR and if I was not mistaken, there might have been less when those that were only here for them decided to move on. Clearly the inconsistencies and overall uncertainty about whether this gig was happening or not was manifesting itself by the absolutely dismal attendance here tonight. It was also clear about how several postings on the Social Network juggernaut of Facebook and Twitter didn’t seem to help matters any but here we were ready to rock with Lizzy and company at this now very intimate show. The last time Lizzy Borden played NYC was when those Monster Metal masters Lordi were touring and brought them along for direct support. This was a thrill ride of a show from beginning to end when it came down to it as Lizzy’s showmanship and many costume changes helped to keep the audience engaged and not sure what to expect as each rocking song went by. The band would still be supporting their “Appointment With Death” album and that’s a good one for those fans who still need to pick up a copy.

It took a little longer than expected for Lizzy to come out and perform and my guess was that there was some last minute hope that more people would come filing in but this was not going to happen at this relatively new club that was not at all viewed as a place for Metal. It seemed as though the people who were here were the people who were here and we were going to enjoy ourselves with or without anyone else. Two giant “Lizzy Borden” banners were placed on either side of the stage and that would be it for decoration and that was fine by me since its more about what the man himself does up there than additional props in terms of implements. The band was primarily the same players as the last time with Joey Scott on drums, Marten Andersson on bass and Chris Sanders on guitar but gone was Ira Black and in his place the youthful guitar wizardry of Dario Lorina. I didn’t realize this at the time of the show but Mr. Lorina is only twenty years of age and is quickly gaining a name for himself based on his technique on the axe. He will surely be a welcome addition to the Lizzy Borden fold. When the band hit the stage it was with a great level of energy and as they had with that last show I caught, the musicians begin the mayhem while Lizzy sings from behind stage. When he arrives he is decked out in head to toe in black flowing robes and a completely hidden face under an ominous hood. Its as if Death himself had come from out of the netherworld to entertain his human minions. It really is an interesting way to start.

As the evening progressed Lizzy and the boys gave us a killer “Give Us The Axe” and for this one Lizzy prowled the stage in menacing fashion with an axe. It was fake of course but he looked rather convincing with it that was for sure. There were plenty of great guitar leads from team Sanders and Lorina and I felt that they were both bringing these rocking tunes to bigger and brighter life while Lizzy swapped out mask for mask and slight costume change for costume change. “Under Your Skin” preceded one of my very favorites “Master Of Disguise” from the album of the same name and for this one Lizzy sported a facemask that was very similar to the one on that albums cover. “Come Out At Night” found the singer in his Phantom Of The Opera motif while “There Will Be Blood Tonight” found him at his skeletal and ghoulish best. During this song he walks around the stage “blessing” the fans gathered in the front with blood. Its creepy but not to worry, this is only syrup. For “American Metal” he disposed of any masks and instead was draped in the American flag and I am sure that some tea party supporters would have been up in arms at such a display but oh well, you cannot please everyone. During this tune the band was joined by one of their dancers and she strutted her stuff provocatively and sensually. “We Got The Power” found the entire assembled body singing along with the band but the originally planned execution of one of their number was put off at the last minute. Clearly there were not enough people around for this activity to have the proper effect. This appeared the be the last song in the set before the encore and while there were a number of other tunes listed on the stage posted set list the band was choosing to cut a few of them out. Before I forget, I should mention that the band was not as made up as they were that last time. For that show they all had this corpse like aspect to them which really brought a lot of additional intensity to the performance. I was wondering if the attendance was the reason behind this or if they had moved past doing that at this stage of the tour for the record. Since I didn’t know anyone that caught a prior performance on this run of dates, I had no reference point.

Lizzy spoke to the crowd about the recently deceased Ronnie James Dio and surprised the audience with their own rendition of the Rainbow classic “Long Live Rock & Roll”. I felt this was a great choice and far different from those bands that are all doing something expected in the legendary singers honor. The guys were again joined by the dancer and everyone around was jumping and singing and smiling as Lizzy did Dio proud. After this they all took their bows and slipped into the backstage area. There was mumbling about a meet and greet but outside of the guitarists hanging around chit chatting with the fans that was it. Nothing official was taking place. I had to say that despite the issues around this performance that I had a great time and was happy to be on point supporting this great band. Before heading home I spoke to Lizzy briefly and he assured me how fans were in for a total treat that coming Thursday when the band was scheduled to perform in Long Island but I would later learn that issues and shenanigans from the local promoter prevented the band from performing that night. Its amazing what some of these event organizers try to pull on the talent and lets hope for less people like this going forward so the scene is not tarnished thanks to their machinations.

As far as the Bell House is concerned, I did like the space and felt it has some potential for a future location for certain kinds of Metal shows. The stage is sizable and the open floor in front of it can easily house about four hundred people – maybe more. There is also a cool bar in the other section with comfortable chairs if you were just looking for a spot to hang out before the band takes to the stage. That night there was an acoustic performance being held on that side of the club while the Metal show took place on the opposite side. I wish this venue well and look forward to returning here again soon. I also look forward to seeing Lizzy Borden perform again but feel that he needs to travel as direct support for one of these other Finnish powerhouses in order to reach their audience in order to strengthen his own grasp all the more the next time around. His show is just too good to find a dismal attendance for and clearly a lot of people missed out on something awesome this evening. I didn’t, and that’s at least allowing you all to learn the scoop.

Black Water Rising Set List:
1. The Mirror
2. Hate Machine
3. Black Bleeds Through
4. Brother Go On
5. We Are The Authority *
6. No Halos
7. Living Proof
8. Rise

Lizzy Borden Set List:
1. Abnormal
2. Give ‘Em The Axe
3. Voyeur
4. – clean solo –
5. Live Forever
6. – bass solo –
7. Tomorrow Never Comes
8. Under Your Skin
9. Master Of Disguise
10. – guitar solo –
11. Come Out At Night
12. There Will Be Blood Tonight
13. Me Against The World
14. American Metal
15. Hollywood
16. We Got The Power
17. Crawlin’ (omitted)
18. Drum Solo (omitted)
19. Notorious (omitted)
20. Deal With The Devil (omitted)
21. Red Rum (omitted)
22. Born To Be Wild (omitted)
23. Long Live Rock and Roll – finale

Below we see one of the banners that the band had positioned on the stage.  As the show proceeded I realized that these were half stage decor and half preparation shielding.  Lizzy would go behind them from time to time to swap his masks and capes and the like.

The Banners of Lizzy Borden

Here’s a shot of Lizzy in action and believe me the night was loaded with stuff like this.

Is Lizzy Reciting Shakespeare? “Alas Poor Yorick”

I liked this little trinket I saw attached to one of the Lizzy Borden laminates and believe it or not, this Gothic looking crucifix is actually a drum key that is made by Vic Firth.  It’s pretty cool when it comes down to it.

Gothic Cross Drum Key & Lizzy Borden Laminate

Of course the next image was not all that cool if you ask me.  Take a look.

A Bloody Mess

In our narrative about the show we explain how at one point Lizzy walks around blessing the fans with this syrupy blood.  Sadly I was too close to the stage when he was doing this and while I moved away, he kept coming in my direction.  I moved the gear but still got some of the goop on my lens.  Ugh.  Such are the perils in this line of work.

These Boots Were Made For Metal

Lizzy had some styling boots didn’t he?

Black Water Rising’s Rob and Mike

Just a quick shot of Rob and Mike from Black Water Rising as they enjoy a cold beer after a hot set at their merchandise table.  The band had their debut CD for sale along with a super cool shirt with their logo in an Ace Of Spades kind of design.  Of course I made sure to get one of those that night and suggest that you do the same when you happen to see the band.

Lizzy Borden Soundcheck from The Bell House

Here’s a shot of Lizzy bassist Marten and guitarist Dario checking their gear out before the performance.  Drummer Joey would be using the Black Water Rising kit behind them.

The Stage Is Set – Time To Rock

The stage is officially ready for the bands to take the reigns and Rock.  Excited yet?  You should very well be.  If you feel like checking out a little more thoughts about The Bell House, just click HERE to see my short narrative on this particular visit to the space.

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