LIVE: Lita Ford / Candy Ambulance @ Alive at Five, Albany, 06/23/2022
A gloomy day in Albany brightened up and faces started melting when “Mother of Metal” Lita Ford and her band thundered onto the stage at Jennings Landing for Albany’s Alive at Five on Thursday and rocked the riverside. The guitar goddess started out in the late 70s at 16 as the lead guitarist for The Runaways and enjoyed glam metal success in the late 80s with her solo career. All-female rockers, the Runaways inspired many young girls to pick up guitars and form their own bands. And Ford’s quintessentially 80s videos, always on heavy rotation during the heyday of MTV, helped to accelerate the advent of puberty in many young boys, especially with her big hit “Kiss Me Deadly” which featured fire, ice, smoke, big hair and writhing. Now 63, Ford is still shredding with bassist Marten Andersson (Steelheart, Lizzy Borden) newly added to her band.
Guitarist Patrick Kennison joined Lita on vocals delivering the Ozzy Osbourne half of their duet “Close My Eyes Forever”. Muscular drummer Bobby Rock offered up a powerful, crowd-pleasing extended drum solo. The band covered Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” and Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed” and rocked the bass-heavy “Can’t Catch Me” co-written and dedicated to the late Lemmy Kilmister. They dropped The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” and Lita expressed that she was “Hungry (For Your Sex)”, that she intended to get “Back To The Cave”, and that she had been “Playing With Fire”. The sign of the horns was thrown generously, picks were flicked into the crowd, and a double-neck guitar was deployed – a free summer Metal Fest!
Those still hungry for ferocious female fireworks need to look no further than Empire Underground tonight (Friday 6/24) where Albany’s rabid BattleaXXX will be opening for Black Sabbitch, the all-female Black Sabbath.
The indie grunge-pop trio from Troy Candy Ambulance opened the show delivering a confident, compelling set of originals from their four releases, the most current being “Hard Boiled”. The after-work crowd kept growing as Caitlin Barker on guitar and vocals, Jesse Bolduc on bass, and Jon Cantiello on drums owned the stage with their spare, dynamic sound. Catch Candy Ambulance at The Hollow on Friday, July 8.
Caitlin Barker right after coming off stage: “It felt great up there! I am always like puke-nervous and I was, up until yesterday and then we got here at sound check and everyone was so good and so on it that I felt very comforted. This is a big crowd for us here, we’re kind of more club scene here, but we play a festival in Wisconsin and it’s like this every time, so we’re a little initiated into it, but I saw a lot of familiar faces today which can be kind of intimidating – it’s hard to put it on for friends! When I was picking up the guitar I wanted a female guitar influence so I was in the school library googling female guitarists, I grew up in the sticks and had no fucking internet! Lita Ford was one of the first that came up, so I did this deep dive on her and I remember watching something from VH1 at a friend’s house and they were telling Lita, “Oh, you don’t have to be so sexy – we all respect you!” and she was like, “Fuck that! I am hot and respectable!”. That just always stuck with me as an influence of someone to be like – I don’t care if I’m sexy as well! We’re going to Wisconsin to play the festival that we always play – that’s super sick. And then I think that maybe we’re gonna maybe take the fall to write some more stuff, ’cause we wrote a lot of sad shit during the pandemic, but now that things are starting to happen again we’re leaning more towards like our older songs and we want to start writing just like rock, kick-ass, loud and fast-’cause people don’t wanna be fucking sad anymore!”