Wednesday, May 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Scream for me, Washington

// L.A. band returns with tribute to Iron Maiden

For the last nine years The Iron Maidens have paid tribute to British heavy-metal band Iron Maiden. Based in Los Angeles, they have built a fan base up and down the West Coast and beyond with their presentation of the sound and image of the legendary group. 

The band consists of Kirsten "Bruce Chickenson" Rosenberg on vocals, Wanda "Steph Harris" Ortiz on bass, Linda "Nikki McBURRain" McDonald on drums and Courtney "Adriana Smith" Cox and Heather "MiniMurray" Baker on guitars. 

The band has the excellent musical skills needed to play the complex music of Iron Maiden, with backgrounds in rock, blues and musical theater. Ortiz has a bachelor's of music degree and plays with orchestras in the L.A. area. They combine that talent with a commanding stage presence and stage show complete with appearances by their version of Eddie, Maiden's mascot.

It has been a few years since they hit the Puget Sound. They band members are looking forward to connecting with their fans up here, as well as escaping the unseasonable heat in L.A., where the temperature hit 113 degrees this week.

The band plays Maiden material from the first album up to 2003's "Dance Of Death," although McDonald said they probably will not play anything from that on their trip north. "We will play a lot of the classics, and a handful we have not played before in the Northwest," she said. 

Iron Maiden drew heavily on their albums of the last decade during their concert at White River Amphitheatre this summer, skipping many of their hits from the 1980s.

McDonald noted the band is still attracting young fans, who likely enjoy hearing songs that were released during their lifetimes. 

The Iron Maidens enjoy the all-ages shows they play on a regular basis at Santa Fe Springs Swapmeet in California. "The parents come out with their kids," McDonald said.

"We get some of our best crowds there," Rosenberg added.

Why does Maiden hold such appeal, 30 years after releasing their debut album?

Rosenberg thinks fans of any age can appreciate Maiden's authentic approach to heavy metal. "They are true to their music."

McDonald credits "great songwriting, musicianship and the live show. Bruce is jumping around, Eddie, everything they bring to the stage."

The Irons Maidens recreate that excitement in a club environment, with fog and other effects and Eddie in his various incarnations joining them on stage. 

"We try to do a big arena show in an intimate setting," Rosenberg remarked.

Rosenberg joined the group in April 2009. She grew up in Southern California, but was living in Baltimore when she auditioned. She was in some rock cover bands back east. She was actually commuting from the East Coast for shows for a bit. "When I got the gig, it was a big reason to move back," she said.

"I have been having a blast. I am a big fan of both bands, so this is a dream come true for me," Rosenberg remarked. 

She has always had a strong affinity for Iron Maiden and its lead singer, Bruce Dickinson. The first Maiden song she heard was "Two Minutes To Midnight" as a young girl. She ended up buying the album it was on, "Powerslave," then delved into earlier albums. "Something about their music really spoke to me."

"It has a very powerful energy," McDonald said. "It sucks you in and does not let go."

McDonald looks forward to seeing her friends in Just Dirt, who will open their Puget Sound shows, as they have on prior visits. "They are great guys," she said.

Rosenberg has visited Seattle before, but it was years ago and was unrelated to music. "There are definitely some rocking towns up there. I am really excited about the trip."

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The Iron Maidens play at Bull Market Bar & Grill, located at 12505 Pacific Ave. in Parkland, at 9 p.m. on Oct. 1. They play an all-ages show at King Cat Theater in Seattle at 9 p.m. on Oct. 2. 

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