It began slowly as the opening band played their intro music to a quiet crowd at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino.
Plush burst into “Athena”, pounding out power chords, and sending their vocals into the rafters. The guitar solo was interrupted by Moriah Formica, the rhythm guitarist, who played a dramatic chord. The crowd roared the first whoops.
The crowd cheered at the completion of Formica’s cover of Heart song “Barracuda” and roared in appreciation.
Every song received more applause, until the audience was on the floor for the 30-minute finale. This gave rise to a standing ovation to the band that few had seen when they purchased tickets to see Slash.
Plush, an all-female, young, and impossibly talented metal band from upstate New York, has been doing this for months. They are reviving hard rock and dispelling the misguided, misogynistic belief that girls can’t rock as hard and as loud as men.
Anyone who has heard Ann and Nancy Wilson, Joan Jett or Lita Ford, Deborah Harry, Blondie, Pat Benatar or Janis Joplin, Starship’s Grace Slick, Chrissie Hinchde of the Pretenders (or Melissa Etheridge) knows how absurd this viewpoint is. Yet, it is still popular in certain quarters.
Formica stated that “rock ‘n roll is thought to be hard, aggressive and just in-your face kind of rawness.” Unfortunately, many people believe women are not aggressive. Women can be feigning vicious!” Women can be incredibly vicious!
Plush is a vicious, melodic, sensitive, bombastic band that’s all at once witty, empathetic, and bombastic. The critics loved their self-titled debut album, which was released last October. They’ve been on tour almost non-stop with Evanescence and Halestorm — two women-led bands that are idols to the four members of Plush — as well as gigs with Daughtry and Sevendust WVH, and most recently, Slash.
They also influenced female rock icons. However, these young women got their start in music on the likes Led Zeppelin and Kiss, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and Alice In Chains.
They clearly have done their research on the past. Bella Perron, a Maine native and lead guitarist in Plush, grew up believing that Ace Frehley was the coolest person on the planet. She also adored Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” riff. Her favorite solo is Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne “Over The Mountain”.
Ashley Suppa, bassist, loves the melodic and bouncy bass line of Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs.” Brooke Colucci’s drum intro to Zep’s “When the Levee breaks” is her favorite.
They have also mastered the fine details, Perron’s finger-flick riff in the second verse of “Barracuda”, to Perron’s high leg kick to punctuate an a particular power chord — something Heart’s Nancy Wilson has done for many decades.
They seem to have mastered the art of rock star poses and hair-flings, so much that it almost seems like they’ve been doing them for over 30 years. (Formica is 21 years old, while the three other models are only 19.
Colucci said, “A year ago I was in highschool.” I had no idea what it was like to be on the road and releasing music. It is a lot of work. But it’s fun work.”
Perron stated that “Now is just an exciting time for rock.” “I was 12 when I got into Halestorm, and Nita Strauss just joined Alice Cooper. They were the first female guitarists I looked up to. It is important to support women in music and encourage young people to follow their dreams, even if it seems impossible.
“It’s incredible to see this platform become less masculine,” said Suppa, the loud bassist on a mission of bringing back bell bottoms. It’s a predominantly male-dominated industry. It’s been great to be a part of this sisterhood with all the women we’ve met.”
The music they sing deals with the dark side relationships. However, almost all songs end with the protagonist realizing that she is in an impossible situation and cutting her losses to move on.
“It’s very easy for people to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, this is the end,” Formica, who wrote the band’s first single “Hate,” about the ending of a relationship. It is for a second. But things must go on. Keep going. If you stop, no one else will. Although I speak about some very dark topics, the ultimate goal is to overcome.
Even though the band is only three quarters old, they are already thinking about their legacy, especially when it comes time for the next generation of girls who want to pick up a guitar or drumsticks.
Formica stated, “It’s amazing to think of being an inspiration for another young lady.” “We get (direct messages) from people such as, “My granddaughter loves you guys” and wants to play guitar. But she wasn’t sure she could until she saw you.