There are few performers more vitriolic than Katie Jane Garside as she swigs wine from a bottle backed by her frantic amigos, but does this really translate well on a live recording? Well, first impressions are everything and we shoot straight into a stunning version of 'Medicine Jar' from the band's most recent album. The fact it's live isn't instantly noticeable, except for an additional note of frenzy in the guitar work and thrashing percussion. Katie Jane's haunting vocals rise above this harsh rhythm like a ghost above the ether.
One of the most debatable aspects of Queen Adreena's performances is emergence of one song from another with little waste of time for introductions, luckily this only serves to smoothen out the CD and stop any of the awkwardness found on live recordings littered with unnecessary banter.
'In Red' rages along with precocious vocals and driving guitars as frenetic as half the metal bands out there, while 'Join The Dots' serves to ease up the pace as little, with a sly and seductive tone and mellow feel, it's a classy and very much catchy tune. 'Cold Fish' is one of the tracks that really have an unpredictable feel as the guitars break out into a shuddering pinnacle of exaltation, its inclusion also shows that Queen Adreena are still proud to showcase their older tracks.
'Pull Me Under' bursts in with a powerful riff that outdoes the album version by far, before it settles into its chorus, which sweeps over the listener like a tidal wave of blistering sound. Similarly 'Fuck Me Doll' blazes with rapturous malice and is one of the highlights of this album with its addictive tune and plain creepy lyrics about the murder of a six year old beauty queen pageant in her home on Christmas Day; Queen Adreena certainly don't do censored or watered down. This is one song that can't fail to be dramatic.
'Birdnest Hair' and lamenting finale 'Pretty Polly' reveal all the trembling tenderness and fragility that tiny Katie Jane can elicit; a stark contrast to the blistering showstopper 'Pretty Like Drugs', which is one of the tunes that is most noticeably altered for a live performance. The guitars restrain their feverish anger until a few minutes in for maximum impact; as this is the track that most people know Queen Adreena for, it's great to hear some variation. Perhaps the most powerful song from the new album, 'Suck' is a climactic story told through haunting melody and wild rhythm, with guitarist Crispin Glover's vocals providing welcome support to Katie Jane's falsetto howls.
Some of the songs do drag a little as Katie Jane takes a moment for an impromptu banshee squeal, although if you've seen Queen Adreena live, you're sure to appreciate the inevitable writhing and sultry swaying that's sure to be going on on stage. Of course casual buyers of this live album will definitely be missing out on that, and would probably be advised to buy the DVD of the same performance, which will be out later this year.
Listening to Queen Adreena will always be like drinking the most delicious poison - both wonderous and explicitly destructive. Their careening vocals, crashing guitars and ecstatic fervour will always set them apart from other groups and this album showcases this perfectly, while also serving as a great introduction to a wide range of the group's material.