Black Cat

Located in the nation’s capital, Black Cat is good good-sized venue with room for a few hundred people to rock out on a Thursday night. The music hall is on the second floor and does have an elevator for patrons who might need a little assistance. There is seating on the perimeter with plenty of space to jam out with the bands in the middle area. There was a very long bar along the left side of the space, so getting a drink if you wanted one was not a problem. The hardest part of this show was the logistics. Parking is expensive (go figure, it’s DC) and traffic was pretty weird. I’m used to shows in Virginia, so it was just different, and having never been there before, it took some effort. I’ll be better prepared the next time!


Band Members:

  • Giles Lavery – Vocals
  • Joe Stump – Guitars
  • Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards/Synthesizers/Keytar/Piano/Backing Vocals
  • Gary Shea – Bass/Backing Vocals
  • Larry Paterson – Drums


  1. Intro
  2. Little Viper
  3. Too Drunk
  4. Hiroshima
  5. Turn Of The Wheel
  6. Kree Nakoori
  7. Jet To Jet
  8. Sword Of Deliverance
  9. Battlelines
  10. Island In The Sun
  11. Don’t Get Mad… Get Even
  12. Bring On The Rock

Originally formed in 1983, Alcatrazz introduced played for four years, then took an extended hiatus. Recently reformed, they have decided they want to blow the roof off any place they play live. Such was the case on a Thursday night in the nation’s capital. Touring with two veteran bands, they bring their own experience to the forefront, setting the tone for the show by bringing an energy to the stage. And you know they have their own appeal because there was a crowd there for this band, jamming out and having a good time.

The newcomer to the band, Giles Lavery, did an excellent job on vocals. He talked up some of the songs, got the crowd pumped up, and made sure the audience had a good time. Gary Shea seemed to have a lot of fun. By the end of the show, his hair was a complete mess from headbanging. It’s nice to see the band members as into the music as the crowd is. Larry Paterson and Gary are a force to be reckoned with as a pair. They handled the rhythms like seasoned professionals, driving the songs like they stole them. Setting the lead tone, Jimmy Waldo, the veteran of the band, used the keys to enhance Joe Stump’s guitar wizardry.

The music was loud, but not overdone. The volume was just right for the venue, filling the room with a joyful Metal noise. I did not get to catch Alcatrazz on their initial runs in the 80s, so it was good to get a chance to see them now. I also got to review their albums “V” and “Take No Prisoners” for Metal Temple when I wrote for them, making this a little extra special for me. I already knew I loved the songs, so getting to hear some of them live was just icing on the cake for me. Even better, I got to chat with a couple of the guys after their set and they are truly nice people. Getting to make that connection made this night just that much more awesome.

Lillian Axe

Band Members:

  • Brent Graham – Vocals
  • Steve Blaze – Guitars/Vocals
  • Sam Poitevent – Guitars/Vocals
  • Michael “Maxx” Darby – Bass
  • Wayne Stokely – Drums


  1. Misery Loves Company
  2. Deepfreeze
  3. Stop The Hate
  4. She’s My Salvation
  5. All’s Fair In Love And War
  6. Ghost Of Winter
  7. True Believer
  8. Crucified
  9. I Am Beyond
  10. Death Comes Tomorrow
  11. Show A Little Love
  12. Outro

As much as I loved Alcatrazz and Girlschool, I was here tonight to see Lillian Axe. I first heard of them in the late 1980s while living in Dallas, TX, and even got to catch them live in February 1988. Their first four albums were in heavy rotation for me over the next decade. Steve Blaze’s guitar mastery always hooked me and their poignant lyrics were something I dove into. This is one of those bands that put my thoughts and feelings to music and said what I could not. This is a band I identified with, not just listened to.

When they started with “Misery Loves Company,” I lost my mind. I immediately went into air drummer mode, trying to mimic Wayne to the best of my ability. They leaned heavily on the old material, which is perfectly okay with me. I still remember well over half of the lyrics from that time period. I used this to my advantage and screamed along at the top of my lungs for most of the show. I also managed to mimic some of Steve’s guitar fills and leads on my air guitar. This apparently cracked up Maxx, who was right in front of me. We had a few moments and I think he appreciates when someone loves the music as much as he does (and thanks for the pick!!).

Brent and Sam were both in my space quite frequently as well, so I got to watch them up close and loved interacting with them. Even better, I got to chat with both of them and Steve after their set. Some people say to never meet your heroes, but I disagree with that. They were kind enough to share their time with the audience and I for one truly appreciate that. The fact that Lillian Axe played so many songs I have such killer connections to make this show one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory.


Band Members:

  • Kim McAuliffe – Rhythm Guitar/Lead and Backing Vocals
  • Jackie Chambers – Lead Guitars/Backing Vocals
  • Tracey Lamb – Bass
  • Denise Dufort – Drums


  1. Demolition Boys
  2. C’mon Let’s Go
  3. The Hunter
  4. Guilty as Sin
  5. Future Flash
  6. Kick It Down
  7. Nothing to Lose
  8. It Is What It Is
  9. Up to No Good
  10. Race With the Devil (The Gun cover)
  11. Bomber (Motörhead cover)
  12. Emergency
  13. Screaming Blue Murder

Girlschool are simply amazing. As one of the many bands from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) era, they were one of the first all-female groups in the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal zone. Kim and Jackie trade off vocals and just generally rock harder than many of the bands today. Their layered guitar playing is a sight to behold. Tracey and Denise, like the other bands tonight, are a rhythm section that is so well-practiced that their timing is unnaturally good.

After two killer bands had already played, Girlschool had the task of keeping the party going, and they did that with great skill. With 46 years of experience, you know these ladies know how to rock. The music was solid, well-rehearsed, and just the right amount of heavy. They did two covers to honor friends; “Race With The Devil” by The Gun and “Bomber” by Motorhead. Who doesn’t love a Motorhead cover? The band used a lot of on-stage banter, both with themselves and with the crowd, to keep the audience engaged between songs and provide facts that not everyone in the audience knew.

I remember Girlschool from the 80s, but sadly lost track of them when I moved to Arkansas in the early 90s. At that time, Arkansas was not a hotbed of British Metal (or any 80s Metal for that matter), so I did miss some of their music upon release. I’m happy to report, though, that I have now reconnected with a band I never should have let slip away. They rock just as hard now as they ever have and bring a formidable talent to the stage. Kim even walked around outside the venue before the doors opened and greeted fans, took pictures with them, and just generally started getting everyone ready for the show before they even got inside. That is the mark of a band who knows how to keep their fans happy.

As good as all three bands are, Lillian Axe is the one I had to see. They had my favorite set of the night, but that is not to take anything away from Alcatrazz or Girlschool. All three bands brought something special to the stage and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and needed; totally badass Heavy Metal. The amount of experience on that stage was astounding, and the level of talent was mind-boggling. As much as I love some of the new bands out there today, there is something to be said about age, wisdom, and experience. This was one for the ages!