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King Adora
20th December 2004, Camden Underworld

King Adora have always been one of the sleaziest bands of the glam persuasion, while simultaneously taking this to extremes that makes them the antithesis of glamour itself. Stretching this look further, or perhaps just embracing the festive spirit, singer Maxi Browne appears onstage with hair not dissimilar to that of a pantomime dame. He then bursts straight into a collection of new songs, only stopping to shower the crowd in water. In the dark of the Underworld what else can we expect?

The first new song Revenge is fierce, driving and stirs the crowd up perfectly; memorable and energetic it's a promising start to the gig. Another new number Backstage documents the life and loves of groupies, somehow something that it feels one shouldn't sing about, for fear of someone labelling it wishful thinking, but it's another lively and semi-punk tune.

The next songs come from the band's 2004 release Who Do You Love?, the standard repertoire of stronger songs is played, including the lazy Drag, with its succinct chorus of "Who do you love? Sex and drugs and money"; the unique and  intelligent Kamikaze, the dreamy and emotional Sweet Abandon and, perhaps the only surprise of the set, the catchy but flippant 9" of Pure Malice. Maxi leaves the audience to scream out the words while he struts the stage, surveying the audience like a mother would her rowdy children.

Finally the last set of songs, Big Isn't Beautiful, Bionic, Smoulder and Suffocate surface, the band's biggest hits from their first album. "And the hits keep coming," Maxi proclaims, yes, well, where's the original set that leaves the audience feeling they've seen something special? I want surprise, I want all my courses mixed into one and the excitement of waiting for perfectly spread parts of each, I don't want a chronological trip through the singles of King Adora. The lack of encore leaves me even more bored, well if the band can't be bothered to retain any sense of showmanship, then how can I be expected to remember the moment when they were connecting with their audience? Unfortunately I'm a sleaze addict; I go home and listen to King Adora and remember that they are worth a dark night in London, although by no means will I go anywhere near the backstage area.

Pictures by Mary Hearne <3