Rock Goddess and Lita Ford combine forces and take over the O2 Academy Islington for a night of girl power.
For most of her life, Lita Ford has been looked up to as a metal queen by other female musicians. She’s been worshipped for her time in one of the first girl groups The Runaways in the ’70s to her metal solo career throughout the ’80s and beyond. After releasing a number of records spanning across five decades and a memoir, Lita felt like it was time to return to her homeland and headline her first show in London in almost 30 years.
Even though Lita has spoken out about her dislike for being grouped with other female artists, tonight, all-female band Rock Goddess are here to support. By the time the girls hit the stage with the opening riffs of “Satisfied Then Crucified”, the audience have already filled the Academy considerably, barely leaving enough room to reach the bar. The Rock Goddess girls look totally at ease with the impressive turn out. Lead singer Jody Turner greets the audience like they’re an old friend at the local boozer.
Their set hopped from old to new in the same way that Jody’s vocals transitions from aggressive to soft. The crowd shout “Fuck Off” proudly, encouraged by the band during the rendition of “Back Off”. While the front of the room shouted with strength, the back barely gave more than a whisper. “Spoil Sports,” Jody calls them.
They end on the anthem “Heavy Metal Rock ‘n’ Roll” which gets the room sufficiently warmed up to welcome Lita. After a quick encore, the crowd reshuffles in time for the main act. Rock Goddess proved the perfect support and flooded the spotlight with further admiration of such strong female artists.
Just like clockwork, an audio track plays of her supposed Dad complaining about Lita playing music. It’s not too dissimilar from the beginning of Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White” music video intro. After a few awkward moments, Lita appears in a skin tight ensemble, stalking the stage like a shiny red panther. She thrusts into “Gotta Let Go” taken from her ’84 album Dancin’ On The Edge. As I am standing quite far back in the room with slightly bad vision, I feel like I could almost mistake Lita for stepping straight out of an ’80s time bubble. Her vocals and playing are still as good as they ever was, and boy did she look hot doing both.
“You’re making me wet!” She roars,”…in a good way.”
Her set is entwined with sexual prowess and more testosterone than most of the members of the audience. Even though she often states that she doesn’t refer to herself as a feminist, she certainly could be the poster girl for one. She throws us into her cover of Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” which is her first example of how she makes songs her own. Although her back catalogue isn’t full of chart toppers, it’s great to hear her velvety voice compliment songs like this and later “Black Leather”.
Lita proceeds to plug her book Living Like A Runaway stating that it had a lot of ‘good reviews”. This leads us into her song of the same name. She plays hard and completely practised. Maybe a little too hard though as she keeps breaking strings throughout the set including the ones on the original guitar that she played during her time in The Runaways. At one point she even confesses that she has even broken the snare drum. While stage assistants and her Californian band continue to hold the fort, Lita causes chaos as she struts around the stage.
The set runs on with a little hiccup through tracks like “Hungry”, “Back To The Cave” and “Falling In And Out Of Love”. Although the band pile through these stompers, we all get a little impatient for the songs we truly want to hear. She finally announces her chosen Runaways song of the night- “Cherry Bomb”. Although originally sung by Cherie Currie, Lita performs it perfectly fuelling that aggression that most seem so distant to her now. It feels like a bit of an honour to hear this song performed live by an original member and Lita definitely does it justice.
Lita announces that they only have time for three more songs and breaks into the first song she wrote after leaving The Runaways “Out For Blood”. She then tones down the mood with her Ozzy Osbourne duet “Close My Eyes Forever”. Her lead guitarist Patrick Kennison (Union Underground, Heaven Below) takes this moment to shine, taking on Ozzy’s part with a more gruff and gravelly vocal. It feels like he has saved all his passion during the set for this moment and projects himself it emotionally through the microphone. Lita meets his eyes with a glimpse of motherly pride.
The paternal vibe is quickly snubbed as she announces that she had got laid the other day. She then gives the audience what they want by ending with her hit “Kiss Me Deadly”. For a woman who has lived in the shadow of her former Runaway band members Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, Lita has proved that she is a rockstar in her own right with her own shadow to cast. Her highly charismatic performance tonight is only further evidence of why she’ll always be considered a female icon in such a male driven industry.
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