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Concert Review

March 19, 2009
By Nova Brown

And that’s how they kicked off the show.

The first time I saw Von Iva was at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. It was the night stage, which is enormous, has a cat walk, and is reserved for the headliners. It was their first time at Michigan, and the womyn were blown away. In the true essence of rock stars, these women created a heart-pounding wall of sound that betrayed the reality of their little 3-member band. And I do think Jillian was the first one that year to really make full, sexy, long-leg use of that cat walk. And man oh (wo)man, did she work it.

The Red Devil Lounge is a fairly small venue in comparison, but it looked like Von Iva didn’t notice. As the lights came on, Jillian stood center stage with her back towards us. In time with the kick-drum, she thrust her hips right, then left, threw her arms in the arm and slid them down through her hair, and right on time, she turned to meet us, one sexy step at a time. Then we never looked back. From the very first beat, Jillian drew us in and handed us off to the rest of the band.

In a mix of 80s new age, British punk, and all-out body-bumping rock, these girls drew us in and held us up all night (which is good cause they didn’t start playing until almost midnight after Killola and Semi-precious Weapons).

So, the band. Von Iva accomplishes the work of ten with only two instruments and a singer. Bex plays two keyboards at once, one emulating a low electric guitar with distortion to run bass lines and intense vibration, and the other to support the melody. Lay Lay just rules the drums. She creates a sound so big that your heart feels like it wants to stop and follow her lead. And then it does.

From the balcony, you could feel the music in every cell of your body. The vibration of the bass hits you in your chest, and the keyboard in your forehead like an intense meditational chant, some of the vocals you can feel in the souls of your feet through my platform shoes!

Speaking of shoes…I do like my heels, but I can’t barely walk in 4” spiked heels, let alone take a running jump onto an amp. But that’s why I’m a writer, and Jillian is a rock star. Again, Jillian took full use of her stage, her mic, her mic stand, the poles, the wall, other people’s glasses, the excited head of an older man in the front row, and of course the amps. And she did it in a denim shorts jumpsuit with strategic cut outs, and what looked like a mink stole attached around the shoulders. (Really, who else could pull that off?)

Bex, that’s who. Her sexy number was a kick-back to Xena, in a hot way, and honestly I couldn’t see what Lay Lay was wearing cause I was too busy checking out her arms. All outfits were created by Flock Couture a very edgy designer who has been working with Von Iva for a few years.

In conclusion, I need to say one more thing. One of the reasons I like to head out and support groups like Von Iva is that in addition to putting on a fantastic display of girls rocking out, they have a reputation (read: “A little bird told me”; I know lots of little birds…) for being an exceptional easy group of women to work with. Gracious, grateful, flexible, and humble. It’s not what you’d expect, and it makes it all the more worth while.

Hats off to you, ladies.