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Kittie: Live Review
By guest writer Julia Neuman

March 19th 2010, Alrosa Villa, Columbus OH: I was back in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio for a week and decided to catch a couple concerts while I was there. I had not heard much about Kittie before Friday night's show and had mixed feelings about the videos I had seen of theirs and the songs I had heard. It was definitely God Forbid that really drew me to this show. Despite my pre-judgments about the headliner, I ended up becoming a Kittie fan by the end of the night.

First of all, I have to mention how strange it was being back in Alrosa Villa after all these years I had been away from home. Having gotten used to the ritzy venues in LA (yes, the Troubadour is "ritzy" compared to Alrosa), it was a shock being back in the divey, middle-of-nowhere venue that is the Villa. To top it off, while I was not at the show during which legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed, I still could sense a terrible cloud of negative energy that was hovering over the stage area. No exaggeration, this place seems a little bit haunted by the tragic memory; I agree with those who think it should be torn down and rebuilt into a completely new venue.

I was definitely in need of a good dose of metal to tear me away from the weird feelings I had about my surroundings. Unfortunately, I was instead hit with the music of opening band Gwen Stacy - a painfully generic metalcore act that seemed much too high school for me. Why is it that whenever I'm in Ohio I can't seem to escape bad metalcore? While I'm never really drawn to the musical elements of metalcore in the first place, I feel as though the bands that come out of Ohio are especially boring and difficult to listen to.

When God Forbid took the stage I was pleasantly surprised by their unique brand of metal. At that point, it was a breath of fresh air to hear. Aside from the fact that they're an entertaining band to watch, they're also really talented musically. They opened with "The End of the World" off of 2005's IV: Constitution of Treason. The highlight of the set was "War of Attrition", during which the less-than-optimal crowd finally began to show some signs of participation. Guitarist Doc Coyle delivered again (I had the privilege of also seeing him fill in for Mark Morton when Lamb of God was on their run with Metallica last fall), and the chemistry with new guitarist Matt Wicklund is great. I would love to see God Forbid have a more prominent place in the metal scene.

Finally it was time for the headliner, and just as I was beginning to think I had already experienced the high point of my night with God Forbid, Kittie took the stage and completely surprised me. I was expecting some over-the-top, "girl power!" type metal. Instead, I got to watch four incredibly talented and inspiring women completely captivate the crowd with a great mix of thrashy riffs and brutal vocals. I can't help but wonder why someone like Morgan Lander is not more widely recognized in this genre. She switches between a hearty growl and a perfectly clean vocal with ease, also managing to spit out some hilarious banter between songs - all with a guitar strapped around her neck. The new addition to Kittie, bassist Ivy Vujic, was on fire throughout the set. She brought an understated, tough edge to the band that was not at all cheesy. A band like Kittie could easily cross into the realm of cliche' metal, but there is absolutely nothing cliche' about their current live show. If you saw them when they first came out on the scene and weren't a fan, I would definitely suggest attending one of their shows in 2010. The band's newest album, 'In the Black', is so different from what they have done in the past. I can definitely hear a Metallica influence in their new music (the intro to "My Plague" is very reminiscent of "For Whom the Bell Tolls"). The catchy yet heavy "Cut Throat" was the highlight of the set, as well as the other songs off their new album such as "Whiskey Love Song", the poppier "Die My Darling" and closing song "Forgive and Forget." As I left Alrosa after the show, all of my previous negative feelings had been replaced by feelings of excitement and energy. I'm glad I got to experience the force that is Kittie because they are a great representation of female talent in metal.

    Here's their complete setlist:
  1. Kingdom Come [Intro]
  2. My Plague
  3. Cut Throat
  4. Oracle
  5. Flower Of Flesh And Blood
  6. Never Again
  7. Pussy Sugar
  8. Breathe
  9. Burning Bridges
  10. What I Always Wanted
  11. Severed
  12. Die My Darling
  13. Whiskey Love Song
  14. Sorrow I Know
  15. Looks So Pretty
  16. Forgive And Forget
Check out the bands here:
God Forbid

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