(Live Review) VIXEN + LILAC - The Arcada in St. Charles (June 17/22)
Review by Mark McQueen
A band composed of all five family members. Aged 13-22, this is an impressive feat on its own. Dubbed "the metal Partridge Family", Liliac play a kind of “vamp metal”.
First impressions of Liliac singer Melody, I’m thinking Lizzie Hale of Halestorm and that’s not low praise. Strong piercing voice, extensive range and only 20-years old. Drummer Abigail at 21 produces a solid pocket holding the beat, while the rest of the band flows around and through it. For a fledgling band, these guys grab your attention with an “it” factor. With continued good management and marketing this band can get even more upwardly mobile. The added aspect of all being from the same family gives them a niche that separates them from the pack.
Mixing covers with originals, Liliac gave us a strong opening set that left the Beard wanting more. Again, high praise for an opener. Good music, good energy, great vocals.
The Beard must dock a couple points for trying the Iron Maiden cover of “the Trooper" though. Despite good energy and a more than capable solo by Samuel at lead guitar, the one-guitar attack on that song just could not catch the fullness necessary to really bring it home. 15-year-old Ethan on rhythm guitar still needs seasoning and growth. Still, I have definitely heard much more renowned bands do worse with the material.
For all of that effort in an opening band, the Beard is still grading an unusually high 93/100. Vixen has a tough act to follow.
Vixen entered the stage to Sweet's “Fox on the Run” ... nice call. Very apropos. Good opening. Strong guitar from Britt Lightning, now in her fifth year since joining the band in 2017. Singer Lorraine Lewis (2019), and Bassist Julia Lage (2022) are also relative newcomers to the band with drummer Roxy Petrucci 1986 being an early member and considered one of the “classic lineup” members. Technically, there are no “original” Vixen members, but Petrucci holds the rights to the band name.
Still, “Vixen” such as they are, are solid even if I don’t remember any of the songs. I enjoyed watching the interplay as they bounced around the stage. Very no frills on effects. Just the five of them and the music.
Keyboardist Tyson Leslie is a “touring member” only. Bassist Julia Lage is the hottest. Being Brazilian, also the only non-American member. Guitarist Britt Lightning is the most technically skilled and previously played in Jaded. Singer Lorraine Lewis is most charismatic and had a lengthy career as vocalist with Femme Fatal, so she is a natural at the front. Drummer Roxy Petrucci remains energetic, even in her late fifty’s.
Although ultimately the songs are forgettable, the band is good and easily professional in how they play. Good charisma and crowd involvement. They actually do not disappoint, and I am glad I’m seeing them for the first time. Despite it sort of not really being the eighty’s Vixen, effort should be rewarded, and the Beard sees 88/100 in his crystal ball of ratings goodness for these ladies and their performance. This made for a good overall show.
Stay tuned next week as the Beard travels cross country to Maryland for the four-day fifty band Maryland Doomfest extravaganza.