Raw and Racy
This live DVD captures the iconic, seductive charm of Queen Adreena at two of last year's concerts promoting 'The Butcher And The Butterfly' album. The soundtrack to the ICA show has already been released on CD, but for those loyal fans who already own it there's a new titbit here in the form of footage of the band's support slot with Killing Joke at the Astoria, notable for being their only live performance without a bass player.
Kicking off with careening 'Medicine Jar', the filming of the show is perfect, although far from crystal clear, its fast-paced following of urchin princess Katie Jane Garside captures the unique line between beauty and destruction which the band tread. The performance has, as ever, a real spontaneous energy as Katie Jane tosses her hair, leans into the crowd and stretches her vocal chords to their limit over Crispin Gray's looming guitar riffs. Haunting 'Join The Dots' sees Katie straddle and climb on a chair with the elegance of a dancer but the base despair that underlines all the band's songs.
Watching Queen Adreena's frontwoman is a bit like watching a car crash; it's compulsive but you know you just shouldn't encourage it, 'Wolverine' even sees her shaking Crispin like a dog with her hand in his mouth, while she later writhes on the stage to 'Fuck Me Doll'. It's as though the diminutive but captivating singer is oblivious of the crowd who watch, hooked to the spectacle.
The pounding rhythm of 'Cold Fish', one of the few tracks from earlier albums sets the crowd in a frenzy, as does anthemic 'Pretty Like Drugs'. Before the encore, 'Pretty Polly' we see pictures of a spent Katie lying in a hallway, before carrying off a stunning version of the lucid tune.
It's nice to see that the Astoria show has a different setlist, starting with fragile serenade, 'A Heavenly Surrender'. This show has a more restrained style, Katie has made an effort to put on a new dress and now adorns an Alice In Wonderland intricate chair during her wilder moments. It's great to have a contrast between the two sets and the lack of bass player also provides that with the songs feeling a little top-heavy but continuing to entrance. Another less welcome difference is that the sound level in this set is much lower than the ICA one, causing unwanted remote control fumbling and making the whole thing seem a little less polished. The peak of this performance is the heady duo, 'Wolverine' and 'Fuck Me Doll', the rock-fan crowd seem perplexed, but entertained by this unusual and intriguing band, and there are far worse impressions to come away with!
The quality of filming may be grainy but this captures the band's ramshackle, fractious style more than a professional, glitzy film would. This DVD is definitely a great portrayal of Queen Adreena's raw and unrestrained style.