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White Empress @ High Noon Saloon
Written by Doctor T.   
Friday, 29 May 2015

White Empress @ High Noon Saloon
Madison, W - May 1, 2015

 

It’s not often you can go to a music event in Wisconsin in short sleeve shirts but, with temps in the 60s, this was one of those rare events. The High Noon Saloon is located on the main drag on the Isthmus in Madison, between Lake Mendota and Lake Menona. And, when the temperatures are like this, and the students are still in town, you can expect a good crowd, especially when they have someone they know performing. Well, they may have limited experience with the Empress but the know lead vocalist Mary Zimmer who performed here for years with other bands. And the High Noon made the occasion special with the addition of several solid sounds; The Faith Hills Have Eyes, Black Box Warning and a Madison favorite, Vermillion doing some of the strongest Death Metal I have had the privilege of hearing.


White Empress

 

But, this evening was all about the Empress. And, they didn’t disappoint. As Vermillion cleared the stage the crew went about setting up for the lead act. And when they hit the stage, they hit it hard. White Empress is the brainchild of former Cradle of Filth guitarist Paul Allender. I had some opportunity to speak with Paul before the Empress took the stage, lovely English accent, talked about how the band was preparing for a trip to Japan in the near future. They all got hustled out for a TV interview about that time so I returned to Vermillion. But, shortly after, I had an opportunity to grab bass player Chela Harper, who does nothing to detract from the visual appeal of the Empress. Lovely lady, never heard her play before but hard to take your eyes off a bass player that looks like this. Well, anyway, the Empress started things hard and pretty much kept it going. No ballads that I can recall. Their initial release, Rise of the Empress was the source of most of the music this evening and it was as good as the CD which is solid.

 

White Empress

 

The White Empress is clearly intended to focus on Zimmerman, the white costume, white boots, blond hair and white makeup certainly make for a visual statement. And Zimmer is a performer, no fashionable Gothic here, she screams hard, she moves around on stage, she is a riveting presence.

 

White Empress

 

But, it was hard to focus too long on her with Harper prowling around on stage like a black cat with that thundering bass. Harper is a big girl, tall and draped in black on black, the exact opposite of Zimmer, at least color wise. The other musicians were solid as well, especially Allender who does a solid guitar. However, when I got home and looked at the pictures, for some reason that black clothed bass player seemed to be in about 80% of the shots.

 

White Empres

 

But then, I’ve always tended to focus on bass players, none of whom looked like this. Well, anyway, the band cranked through most of the stuff on their CD and actually introduced one new song. I don’t recall the name, I was otherwise involved with the the mother of the band’s new drummer who updated me on all things new in the realm of that family. Always nice to get a look at the personal side of the ledger. But, the Empress continued to pound out a solid set, much to the delight of the listening audience.

 

White Empres

 

By the time it was all over I was in no shape to look for further conversation, 6 Spotted Cows will do that for you. But, it was clear the crowd had gotten what they paid for. The Empress had given them a ride, a wall of sound and a visual they won’t soon forget. Japan, you’ve got something to look forward to.

 

White Empres

 

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