Lizzy Borden is one of the numerous Los Angeles based metal bands that rose to prominence in the mid 1980’s only to be knocked off that perch by the grunge scene in the early 1990’s. However, you wouldn’t expect a band that took its name from an infamous accused ax murderer to stay permanently derailed by a slight change of public musical taste. Lizzy Borden and its lead vocalist, who adopted the moniker of the band he formed with his brother drummer Joey Scott, have been the only two constant members of the group. Through a few roughly two-year periods of official inactivity, Lizzy Borden has looked like it was down for the count on a few occasions. However, like Michael Myers, just when you think they are finished, a second look reveals the absence of that menace who you could have sworn was dead.
Lizzy Borden earned their whacks as a me too, hair metal outfit, emanating from the consistent flow of guitar wielding, leather and spandex laden bands with a blonde maned singer that was the Sunset Strip scene of the excess decade. They always had a more sinister thematic edge to their music, but their presentation was not that dissimilar to most of the others of their ilk that came of age in that era. Over the years, they have evolved their presentation into one that is more visual and theatrical in its approach. That attribute was on display when Borden and company played to a slightly less than capacity Whisky a Go Go on a crisp Fall Thursday night.
Lizzy Borden was without listed members bassist Marten Andersson and guitarist Ira Black on this date. With a completely darkened stage, Lizzy himself descends the stairs that have been trod by just about everyone from Janis Joplin to Van Halen. Wearing a large spiked yoke and a silver mask, looking something like Skeletor from He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, he belts out the lyrics to the title track of their most recent release, My Midnight Things. In between songs, Lizzy makes full use of a screen on the left of the stage to shed a layer of his costume, and don a new “face” for the next song. The second face is really the second third and fourth, as he returns with a creepy and confusing three faced prosthetic, which makes Borden appear to be looking at you directly, regardless of where you are in the crowd. The eerie three faced mask is mesmerizing as you watch him sing as in the darkened Whisky main floor, combined with Borden’s movement, it is hard to tell which of the trio of mugs are actually singing.
The Borden fans may be less than arena filling in their numbers, but are no less zealous. They sing along with all three faces for that particular number, and with whichever face Borden is wearing for the remaining tunes. The facial coverings and costumes continue to change throughout the show. Unfortunately, the mix in the room was off a bit and the guitars could not be heard well, but that did not seem to put a damper on the enthusiasm of those who braved an 11:15 pm set start time on a Thursday evening. The Lizzy lovers in attendance buried the hatchet over that little transgression and kept their enthusiasm at a high level throughout the performance.
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