LIVE REVIEW: Maid of Ace, Trillians, Newcastle, 18th July 2019

Maid of Ace singer Alison Elliott at Trillians in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Maid of Ace are something of an oddity in the male-dominated world of rock ‘n’ roll, and not just because they’re all female.

There have been lots of good all-girl rock bands over the years – The Runaways, The Go-Go’s, Girlschool, L7, Sleater-Kinney, Civet, to name but a few – but none of them have what makes this Hastings four-piece so special.

That’s because Maid of Ace consists of four sisters – Alison Cara Elliott (lead vocals/guitar), Anna Coral Elliott (guitar/vocals), Amy Catherine Elliott (bass/vocals) and Abby Charlotte Elliott (drums).

Maid of Ace singer Alison Elliott at Trillians in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

They played their first show together at school back in 2005, and began to take things more seriously around 2012.

They have spent the last few years developing as a kick-ass live band, and I guarantee anyone seeing them for the first time will be blown away by their raw energy, musicianship and the sheer noise they make.

I first came across them in 2013 when they made their debut on the New Band Stage at Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool, and was so impressed I’ve seen them another eight times since, just to make sure they were as good as I remember. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

Maid of Ace guitarist Anna Elliott at Trillians in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

They have two self-released albums to their name, 2014’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Maid In England, which was named as No. 9 in Vive Le Rock magazine’s albums of that year.

The only surprise is that no punk label has stuck its neck out and snapped them up for album number three (I believe new songs are in the offing…).

Alison, on lead vocals and guitar, gets most of the attention, as frontmen/women usually do, and for one so petite she has a great look, huge stage presence and a fiery rasp which could strip paint off bare metal.

Maid of Ace bassist Amy Elliott at Trillians in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

But a band is only as good as its component parts, and the siblings who make up Maid of Ace are a very well-oiled machine indeed.

Anna is a natural guitar hero, and her vocals are a lion-like roar which threaten to put even Alison’s Brody Dalle-like snarl in the shade.

Stage left is Amy on bass, who might not have as many rock star moves as the six-stringers, but locks into a thunderous rhythm with the mass of flailing hair and arms which is powerhouse Abby on drums.

Maid of Ace drummer Abby Elliott at Trillians in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Make no mistake, Maid of Ace are a formidable unit, and if you watch them closely you can see the smiles between them when they just *know* they have hit that sweet spot.

There are plenty of these during their 45-minute set, and these sisters are obviously having a ball as they do it for themselves.

My only complaint tonight was that the set seemed to fly by, an intro followed by a dozen slices of adrenaline-fueled punk rock bordering on hardcore, plus a couple of unscripted encores.

All-sister punk band Maid of Ace at Trillians in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Standouts were hard to pick, but the opening onslaught of Stay Away (no relation to the Nirvana song), the raging Hollywood Rain, my personal favourite Minimum Wage (that bassline…) and first-album staple Bone Deth take some topping.

Cooking on gas? Tonight the flame was turned up so high the cylinder would have been emptied several times over. Go to see Maid of Ace if you like your music served raw and loud – you won’t regret it.

Gary Welford
gary.ipamusic@gmail.com
ipamusic.co.uk owner