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.
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.
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.
by Mary Hearne <3