(Live Review) LILIAC + PARALANDRA - Arcada Theatre (7/20/23)
By The Beard & Little Johnny
Tonight, fans of the tireless twosome that are The Beard and Little Johnny, we are once again on the road and preparing for stop number #39, and bands number #192-193 on our 2023 The Reviews Never Stop Tour.
This evening, it is back to the Arcada Theater in St. Charles Illinois for the real-life Partridge Family of rock and roll Liliac, with guest support from Paralandra.
The family Liliac hails from Los Angeles and features; Samuel (24) (guitars), Abigail (23) (drums), Ethan (17) (bass), Justin (15) (keyboards) and vocalist Melody (21).
After going viral on social media, Liliac scored big on Americas Got Talent with their musical strength and of course being a full family unit.
After a few years touring behind such acts as Queensryche, Slaughter, and even KISS, this year Liliac is headlining in support of their second release The Queen of Hearts.
After, show number #38, and the “seasoned” Moody Blues, Johnny is thrilled to check out a band where all the members are younger than him.
As always, (at the Arcada), we have our balcony seating and high-end drinks. Johnny with his Whitechapel Martini, and The Beard with his Jameson 18 on the rocks.
Opening the show were Paralandra, a four-piece rock band who have been around since 2014 and have toured as openers for Yngwie, Saliva, and Disturbed. Daughter Cassandra (Vocals) and father Paul (guitars) Carson form the front line to this act with Sawyer Rickard (bass) and Dakota Watson (drums) bringing up the rhythm section.
Vocalist Cassandra had a kind of traditional rock-meets-Halestorm voice. The band was solid with Paul Carson playing catchy and enjoyable leads. The energy Paralandra put forth was good for a small crowd. I’m sure it was disappointing to look out at a half empty Arcada theater and still try to muster up the same energy. I thought Paralandra did that very well.
Their instrumental number was very good. Johnny enjoyed that one quite a bit. Paul played a medium length solo while daughter Cassandra accented well with her own guitar licks. Cassandra presents well in the vocal spot musically lyrically and certainly visually. As the band has been together for a decade, they had a good amount of professional polish, and they were able to parlay that into a really nice set.
Cassandra spoke before their final number saying, “We were told, I’m not skinny enough to make it in this business.” (UH...Yes, yes, she is. Cassandra Carson cuts an impressive and attractive front figure. By the way, her dad’s not anywhere around, right?),
She continued, “We were told, there’s already a Lzzy Hale and we don’t need another one. But we have kept on going for a decade and we aren’t about to stop now.” The Beard says, “Bravo for the Never Say Die attitude.” It’s not like Gretta von Fleet folded up their tent because they sounded like Robert Plant. A good voice is a good voice period. Paralandra gave everybody a good set and most definitely their money’s worth. 86/100
Headliners Liliac hit the stage with energy. Tearing through the first few numbers, it didn’t take long for vocalist Melody to throw out some screams reminiscent of the great Ronnie James Dio. Her voice had at least a little of Dio’s tonality to it. Guitarist Samuel also played strong leads and solos and Abigail proved completely capable on the Drumming throughout.
The weaker points were the younger members Ethan and Justin who at 17 & 15 respectively, look like kids hopping around on the stage, (which is in fact exactly what they are).
On Liliacs cover of "Crazy Train", The Beard wasn’t amazed at the vocal part, as I don’t think Melody’s voice was right to cover Ozzy, Samuel however nailed the Randy Rhodes solo pretty much note for note and that’s impressive. You don’t pull that off without skills and a few thousand hours of dedicated practice.
Now, while The Beard at almost 57 sees 17 & 15 as “kids”, Little Johnny had a different perspective of that part of Liliac’s show. Little Johnny loved the “crazy kid” energy of bassist Ethan and keyboardist Justin, saying “They play like they don’t care who’s watching. It’s just about how the music feels to them in the moment. I get that.” Point taken little dude.
With the lighter crowd, and a lot of empty space up front, The Beard released Johnny from his normal Arcada stay in your chair exile and said, “get down there and go crazy with them then little dude.” Soon he was in the throng near the stage front rocking along with the band. (It’s good to see the rascal having fun as I know most of our last several shows and bands haven’t been true Little Johnny Metal).
As a balanced reviewer though, The Beard does have to say that without the “everyone in the band is from the same family” thing, Melody would still be a very good singer and Samuel would still be a very talented guitarist, but I don’t think Liliac would be headlining shows. Nor do I think they should be. The Beard thinks Liliac’s realistic place on an event bill is an early to mid-slot at a festival or as an opener. They are enjoyable to watch for a while, and Melody can cover a Dio tune well which is not faint praise.
The Beard is not underselling the talent. Since perhaps the Jacksons, I don’t know of another family achieving what Liliac are doing here as most family-based rock bands are limited to brothers, (AC/DC, Van Halen, CCR, Almond Brothers etc.), and not five family members. Still, unique niche aside they are a good, not great, band.
Until next time