The Iron Maidens - Cover Band Central "Spotlight Artist of the Week" for 03/04/14
Cover bands come in many forms. You have your general classic rock cover band that will play an array of popular songs from the last few decades. You have show bands that will cater to corporate events and weddings and will largely play a mix of dance music and standards. Then you have tribute bands.
A tribute band is a group of musicians that specializes in replicating a show by a current or former popular artist - with the name, the wardrobe, the set list and the concert honoring the original act. In most cases, this is a guy's club, especially with heavy metal music. But of course there are always exceptions, and one of the world's premiere stand outs in this field are a quintet of ladies know as The Iron Maidens.
Hailing out of Southern California, the "World's Only Female Tribute to Iron Maiden" have been blowing away audiences all over the globe for over a decade. While many will balk at the idea of women playing metal, much less tackling the incredible body of work of Steve Harris and Co., the fact is that these chicks can play. Just check out the video below of guitarists Nita "Mega Murray" Strauss (who equally shares duties in the band with Before the Mourning guitarist Nikki Stringfield) and Courtney "Adriana Smith" Cox flawlessly tearing through "The Trooper" at 2012's NAMM convention.
To be successful as a tribute band, you not only need to be able to duplicate the songs as they were recorded by the original artist, but also incorporate elements of the stage show that fans are accustomed to enjoying. The Iron Maidens employ several of the staples that fervent Maiden fans have come to love and expect, including the waving of the British flag by singer Kirsten "Bruce Chickinson" Rosenberg, the appearance of the Grim Reaper and the devil, as well as album cover fixture and long-time mascot Eddie.
Every Maiden fan knows that most of the music was written by bassist Steve Harris, and his galloping triplets and complex melodic lines in many of the group's popular songs are a driving force behind the what makes the band instantly recognizable. Wanda "Steph Harris" Ortiz not only perfectly emulates the bass lines, but also plays with the Royal Blue Fender Precision bass that Harris is so well-known for, dresses the part, and honors the spirit on stage of arguably one of the most influential bass players in the history of rock music. (And of course - bass players rule.)
Drummer Linda "Nikki McBurrain" McDonald is no stranger to the metal scene. Her former band Phantom Blue enjoyed success in the late 80's and early 90's, having been signed early on to Geffen Records, and later releasing several more albums with various line-ups. Her rock solid reproduction of Clive Burr's and Nicko McBrain's masterful drum parts and experience with live performance bring an essential element to driving The Iron Maiden's live show.
There is no doubt that in order to be a successful tribute band, the musicians have to be accomplished players, and must perform with passion and integrity - and these girls have it in spades. But no tribute act is complete without an amazing singer - one that can not only sing in tune, but also maintain the energy and character of the original vocalist. The Iron Maidens' singer Kirsten Rosenberg has the advantage of a wider range than most male vocalists, and can easily nail the notes and replicate the melodies that Iron Maiden singers Paul Di'Anno and Bruce Dickinson made famous.
The beauty of a great tribute band is the fact that they give fans - especially the younger generation - an opportunity to experience a live performance of music by an artist that they love, but never got the chance to see in concert. While Maiden still tours to this day, not every fan was able to see them in their prime. The Iron Maidens give metal fans the gift of presenting the show with the fire and enthusiasm of the real thing.
In the vast world of tribute acts, you'll be hard pressed to find a band that represents the artist as well as The Iron Maidens. Kirsten, Nita, Nikki, Courtney, Wanda and Linda (and previously Nili Brosh on guitar) all play with a glaringly obvious and genuine love for classic metal. Fans love the music first, and these gals are clearly fans as well. It also doesn't hurt that they're all easy on the eyes.
For more info on the band, visit theironmaidens.com.
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Up the irons! \m/