Heavy Metal Rock n’ Rollers Rock Goddess – Turner sisters Jody (vocalist/guitarist) and Julie (drums) along with bassist Tracey Lamb – played their first gigs together for 32 years in Spain at the weekend. To put this in perspective, compact discs were in their infancy back in 1983, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t even born.
Having announced their reformation and teased fans on social media for more than a year with the promise of a new album (Unfinished Business) and a return to live action, the original trio start to be true to their word playing warm-up gigs in Barcelona and Madrid. Opening with the customary Satisfied Then Crucified, we’re immediately hurled back to the 80s. It seems the Spanish have a love of the NWOBHM, with t-shirts sporting logos of Tank, Tygers of Pan Tang and Tokyo Blade spotted in the audience.
Three things are immediately clear. Firstly, the South Londoners haven’t lost any of their youthful energy or raw edge. Secondly, this isn’t some half-assed affair cashing in on the recent upsurge in bands reforming. In the dressing room afterwards, the trio dissect their performance and are clearly disappointed to have cut their set by three songs as Jody’s cold starts to take hold. Lastly, if the band are taking small steps back into the live arena until the new album is released, they’re taking a giant leap of faith by piercing the set with so much new material so early on. On paper this may seem a gamble — especially as the popular Heartache won’t feature at all in the coming months — but the new songs are strong enough to justify their places, notably the bludgeoning mid-paced anthem This Time and the lighter, more commercial This Is The Day.
The band’s stagecraft is flawless. Tracy’s bass still thunders, Julie’s drumming is still earth-shatteringly powerful — her delivery continues to look as effortless as it did all those years ago — while Jody takes every opportunity to come out from behind the mic stand to throw out some solos or riffs. There are moments, however, when they take it down a notch with the slow burning, sensual Drive Me Away (“about getting hot in cars”), before returning to the first album with Back To You and finishing with the reassuringly direct Heavy Metal Rock’n’Roll. In a city such as this there are football-style chants from an audience keen to see more, and with My Angel they come back out for extra time.
Rock Goddess are back. Satisfied? Hell yeah.
_Rock Goddess play Islington Academy, London, May 14th. Tickets are on sale now. _
Photo: Yanko Pla.