Despite her band’s galloping thrash rhythms, Canadian iron maiden Kobra Paige had always struck me as pop and indebted to Evanescence’s Amy Lee. My confusion stemmed from the polish of Las Vegas-based producer Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, In This Moment) who tends to airbrush sonic warts. As a result, the Churko-touched songs on Lotus’s self-titled Universal Records debut sound like a bid for mainstream attention. But once Paige—draped in black leather, silver face paint and blonde dreads—stepped onstage with her ass-whuppin’ bandmates, there was no compromise. Even the hardcore underground metal gals who were there to see headliner Fear Factory were converted. They head-banged to “Welcome to My Funeral,” a pyre of Middle Eastern scales and menacing grooves. Paige is a relentlessly epic power-metal vocalist. Meanwhile, guitarists Jasio Kulakowski and Peruvian fret-burner Charlie Parra del Riego tore into every song—doubled leads, harmonic runs, the works. Lotus unleashed a 45-minute set that ended with the gnarly, pounding “50 Shades of Evil.” Bombastic, charismatic, Paige didn’t just bare her fangs; she sank them into the sizeable audience. ★★★★☆
Best of the City 2016
Our seventh annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best place to fix your speeding ticket to the best Bloody Mary.