Jan 12

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All-female tribute act from Los Angeles

Run to the Thrills: All-female Tribute to Iron Maiden

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The Iron Maidens are gonna get you, no matter how far.

It just might take a little while.

The all-female tribute act from Los Angeles is making its maiden voyage into Winnipeg for a Friday night show at the Burton Cummings Theatre, 16 years into a fun, little side gig that has turned into anything but wasted years.

Along the way they’ve managed to meet all the members of the band they’re paying tribute to — even original singer Paul Di’Anno, who sat in with them for two songs during an encore at the O2 Academy in Islington, England in October — and other metal gods.

And they’ve traveled the world shouting ‘Up the Irons’ in locales such as Venezuela, where they rocked out before 40,000-plus screaming festival fans, and Australia/New Zealand, which they’ll visit in the spring.

“Back in the day, we were excited to get invited to go play in Las Vegas. We’d have never imagined” marveled drummer Linda (Nikki McBURRain) McDonald, one of the original members, in a telephone interview.

While not the final frontier, Canada has been a somewhat untapped territory. The Maidens made it up to Vancouver in their early days, and to Toronto, Montreal and Quebec in recent days. Now they’re setting down in the Canadian Prairies, with a show in Regina on Saturday, in the middle of the winter.

“I’m hoping we don’t need to bring the sled dogs or anything,” McDonald joked.

Like the band they expertly cover, the Iron Maidens early days involved plenty of personnel changes. Bassist Wanda (Steph Harris) Ortiz joined in 2002, with vocalist Kirsten (Bruce Chickinson) Rosenberg and guitarist Courtney (Adriana Smith) Cox coming on board in 2008. Second lead guitarist Nikki (Davina Murray) Stringfield, a long-time guest, was officially added in 2015 to round out the current lineup.

They entered the scene along with a wave of all-female tribute acts, many since banished to purgatory, but have managed to endure along with the likes of AC/DShe, Lez Zeppelin, and Judas Priestess.

“It’s Iron Maiden’s fault actually. Blame the guys,” McDonald said. “The very fact that Iron Maiden is very much alive, active and touring worldwide — their fans cannot get enough of them. So I suppose we are kind of serving as a surrogate Maiden fix, if you will, until Iron Maiden returns back to everybody’s town again.”

The UK boys last played the ‘Peg in 2012, with nothing to suggest they’ll be back soon. Their career has taken on another life, of sorts, with their last release, 2015’s Book of Souls, hitting No. 1 in 24 countries. McDonald has been a fan since the early days, with the band proving a revelation when she “stumbled upon them” in her brother’s record collection.

“I was just floored by the musicianship, the guitar playing, the dual harmonies, the vocals — just every bit of talent in there,” McDonald said. “It just blew my mind and they were instantly my favourite band from the moment I heard them.”

You can feel free to bring your daughters to the slaughter, as many do. While the band boasts beauty along with a boatload of talent, they aren’t out to show you all their wares.

“That really wasn’t what we were shooting for, but I suppose sex appeal doesn’t hurt at all,” McDonald said with a laugh. “You should see some of the emails we get …

“But hey, y’know, we’re just really grateful that we’re doing what we’re doing and people are accepting it, so there’s just those little things that come along with it. We know we didn’t write this material, we know we are a tribute band, but we’re just so grateful for the opportunities that we have and it’s just so much fun for us to go play this for fellow Maiden lovers and it’s just sharing the joy of this music. We’re so fortunate to get to do it all over the world.”

Local Judas Priest tribute act Metal Gods opens the show. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Scream for them, Winnipeg.

Article Attribution: Kevin King

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