With the live music events coming back, everyone was excited to come out and see Stormstress play; almost as excited as they were to play for us. This band hasn’t stopped working through the pandemic, but they have been unable to play live. After the pandemic shut things down just after their debut show in February of 2019, this was their first real show back on a stage. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to celebrate, Maddie, the drummer, was given the all clear after her recent brain surgery. The anticipation of the night was growing as the minutes ticked past.
Let me set the scene. This was a venue unlike anything I had seen. A wooden stage in the middle of a clearing with three sections of seats in front of it. Trees surrounded it, making it feel like we were in another world. Apparently this venue in Herter Park had been abandoned for about 10 years and just recently got renovated. The stage had two steps in the front for easy access, that would get used later. It was a pretty large stage for the area and gave plenty of room to move around. Tall lights, very similar to street lights, lit up the seating areas. Once the sun goes down, the path from the parking lot to the stage is lit, inviting everyone in.
Before the girls took the stage there was the opening act. Lily Black is a punk band full of young adults. Some of them are still teenagers. Lily is a ball of pink energy that may just jump into the stratosphere if not tethered. Pretty sure her feet spent just as much time off the ground as they did on the stage. The rest of the band did not quite share her energy, but they were engaged with the music just the same.
Lily sang her little heart out on both originals and covers. She stepped out of her comfort zone and played guitar as she sang some of their new originals. As she was tuning her
guitar, she was attempting to make small talk to distract from the fact she was tuning, but that is not her strong suit. The lead guitarist chimed in and tried to help her come up with something “witty”, but could not. The running joke of the night was that someone needed to tell dad jokes and let the crickets be the reply. The connection between the band members was obvious and fun to watch.
Their professionalism shone as they played through the set. They kept hyping up the audience for Stormstress to follow; talking about the storm that was coming. When a technical issue cut out her sound, she didn’t let it ruffle her and got it back under control. Just shows the level of comfort she has on stage.
Stormstress was up next. Maddie in her flat shoes and the twins in their high platforms.
First up was their latest single “You Can’t Hurt Me Now”. This song started off the show with power and passion. Their return to a full stage was electric, and everyone could feel it. All of the pent up energy from the past 18 months was trying to explode from them at every chance.
Just when the audience thinks they know what they’re in for, Tanya says they’re about to do a cover that a band like them should never do. Color us intrigued. The song starts and you think you’re hearing it wrong...but no. The metal band is playing Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”. It can’t work, it shouldn’t work, yet somehow it does. Tanya’s voice brings an edge to the song while Maddie and Tia punch up the instrumentals. A whole new energy and vibe.
Tia and Tanya have an acoustic act together called Venom & Mayhem. Most people wouldn’t have known it, but they threw one of their original songs into the set. It came out a few months ago; albeit quietly. “In Corruption We Trust” is a song that makes the listener think and take notice. A pleasant surprise to hear that one come out with a full band rendition.
Somewhere in the middle of the elevated excitement Tanya began introducing the band members. Each one did a killer solo in turn. Maddie with the double pedal in superhuman speeds. Tia hit those bass notes and bent them to her will. This was the return of the glow-bow. Tanys is not the first guitarist to play guitar with a cello bow, but she adds something extra to hers; red LED lights. In usual twin fashion, Tia and Tanya played back to back;
they even had a conversation with each other as they played. The pure joy on their faces as they played together was something to be witnessed. All three of them had the biggest smiles on their faces; only rivaled by the emotion in their eyes. They were all beaming.
They brought the energy, and mood, down with their ballad “Fall With You”. It highlights the beauty these three talented musicians can create, not just the power they’re known for. You never would have known at one point in time that Tanya and Tia were too shy to sing lead. Their voices carry such emotion and power in this song.
Surprises kept coming at every turn that night. What is something you don’t typically see from a drummer? Singing lead, sure why not. When they played their cover of “Zombie”, Maddie took the lead and sang the first verse. What a change-up. You don’t typically hear her sing lead, but she can certainly hold her own. Here’s to hoping to hear more of Maddie in the future. A new sound caught the audience off guard during “All That Glitters”. A guttural growl coming from the twins. They learned some new skills during their time stuck at home.
The stage was set up to facilitate interaction with the audience, and they took full advantage of it. With wireless packs on guitars, the twins came down and played right to, and in, the audience. The small group gathered in the front of the stage got up close and personal with Tanya and her guitar. What a treat that was for them. Tia came down to the little platform just a step down from the main stage to give the standing audience a basstastic show.
All too quickly, they announce that they’re on the last song of the night. How can 9 songs feel like 5 minutes? They took us from swaying along to the ballad to jumping and rocking with the last one. “Corpses Don’t Cry” is always a crowd pleaser of a song.
From sing-a-longs to mosh pits, growling to dancing, this show exceeded its expectations.