Stealing Betty: Stealing Betty (2011)

NOTE: The original posting of this review left out a paragraph and a picture, so it was re-posted with the entire review intact.  Sorry!

Bio (condensed from stealingbetty.com):
Formed in 2008, the genesis of Stealing Betty was rooted in chance and tragedy – inspiring musicians struggling through personal circumstances – much of which has been transformed into a music experience that resonates universally with fans. The Stealing Betty motto is “when the going gets tough, you get your shit together and rock the house”. Hailing from Flint and Detroit, Tonya, Myke, Deano & Tom are a powerhouse of talent and charisma with a determination that doesn’t quit!  No strangers to the stage, the members cut their teeth playing in different bands all over Southeast Michigan from Ann Arbor to Flint. Together they are a well oiled machine. Individually the members have a wide variety of experience from playing well known bars to opening for national bands in large rock clubs and even playing 5000 seat venues touring with national bands such as Candlebox. They are a band that works hard to play hard; which is evident in every show. Check them out as they deliver. As one of their fans said to them – “there is a huge difference between doing something and doing something GREAT – Stealing Betty is that difference”.

Musicians:
Tonya, Myke, Deano & Tom

I have to say, I enjoy a hard rock band that has a female lead.  Sometimes.  Not Evanescence – which to me seems more like a female fronted parody of nü-metal than anything else – or Kitty – which really seems to be more about the uniqueness of a chick band that sounds guttural than actual good music – but a lot of female-fronted rock can be a lot of fun.  One of my favorite bands that no one has heard of is Hammerbox, which was a grunge band with a female lead singer and male secondary singer, and they made one really, really good album and was never heard from again.  Stealing Betty is definitely in the “good” female rock category, no growling bullshit or silly nü-metal here, just some ass-kicking hard rock.

Tonya rocks so hard that the background doesn't matter anymore...
Tonya rocks so hard that the background doesn’t matter anymore…

From listening to STEALING BETTY, I really have to wonder why you have not heard of this band yet.  No, they are not the best thing ever, evar; but Stealing Betty are a really solid, strong, hard-rocking group with a lot of radio appeal.  Tonya’s vocals wouldn’t win American Idol, but I’m sure to a band like Stealing Betty that is a compliment (and it is meant to be); she has a strong voice that carries over the heavy backbone laid down by the rest of the band.  The guitars are nothing special but are always solid, and really rock.  The bass, which often gets almost into a KoRn like groove, is a standout on the album; there’s no Les Claypool like intricacy or weirdness, it is all pretty straight-forward, but it’s heavy as hell and adds a great weight to the low end of SB.  The drums, like the rest, are nothing extremely special, but more than extremely competent.  Overall as a release, SB really doesn’t do anything really “out there” or “different,” but what it does, it does really well.  And what it does is that it rocks your socks off.

Stealing Betty, stealing your eardrums...
Stealing Betty, stealing your eardrums…

One of the bits of SB that stood out to me the most was the lyrics.  There is no “check me out I’m a cute chick don’t you want me” boringness here.  Sure, the songs are a lot about love, and love lost, but again they are presented in a very kick-ass way.  On “Natural Born Thrillers” Tonya sings “I will do anything / if you give me everything / I can be your kerosene / you can be my match / we can set the world on fire / burn it up with our desire / natural born thrillers / killing haters in our path,” which is a lot cooler than saying “I think you’re hot, do you think I’m hot too?”  On “Shut Up” she sings “The end is coming / I can feel it / it’s written on your face / I can see it / I know she’s skeezy / so typical and sleazy / you’re not the man I’d thought you’d be / so don’t you fucking lie to me!” which is a sentiment that has been expressed in many a love-lost song, but usually not presented with such balls.  Especially from a female lead singer!  It’s this overall ballsy, kick-ass, pedal to the metal (how many more clichés can I fit into one sentence?) feel that Stealing Betty brings that I enjoyed the most about their EP.

SB is a short EP – four tracks and then a “clean” version of “Shut Up” – but it showcases what I think is a very solid base for future releases.  This band, with some polish and some time, will be a contender.  They rock hard enough to keep the average hard-rock dude entertained, and the fact that they do so with a female front will keep that dude’s girlfriend entertained too.

Stealing Betty is here, and they WILL cut you if you mess with them.
Stealing Betty is here, and they WILL cut you if you mess with them.

Overall, I enjoyed SB a lot.  Sure, it’s not Pink Floyd and it’s not TOOL, but it is catchy, and rocking, and gets stuck in your head.  With a little national radio play, Stealing Betty could be a much more commonly known band.  With a couple of good videos on Mtv (so they still do that?), Stealing Betty could be a really well known band.  I am really looking forward to seeing what else they release in the future, but for know I am going to continue to enjoy the SB EP.  I love it when you have some balls-to-the-wall, hard rocking party rock, and to top that off: it’s being delivered by a kick ass chick… loads of fun.

Overall 6.5 / 10

SB for sale: http://stealingbetty.com/merch/

SB site: http://stealingbetty.com/

Stealing Betty: Stealing Betty (2011)
Stealing Betty: Stealing Betty (2011)
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