If you haven’t stumbled across Queen Adreena yet, then a little history lesson is in order. Formed from the ashes of Daisy Chainsaw, Queen Adreena is the disturbing gothic Rock and Roll vehicle for one time Daisies Crispin Gray and Katie Jane Garside.
Despite a loyal following, they’ve never really set the mainstream on fire. Not that this is reflective of their songs; if there were any kind of justice, the likes of FM Doll and Pretty Like Drugs would have screamed their way into the hearts and minds of us all.
Perhaps the problem is, that to the uninitiated at least, their album fare might seem a little patchy. This album should set the record straight. Live albums can be a rum old affair at the best of times, but Live at the ICA is not a bad record at all. It’s well recorded, well produced, and it condenses Queen Adreena’s best moments from their last three albums into one handy disc. As a “best of” this would serve perfectly well, such is the delivery of the songs. Cold Fish is particularly vicious, thrashing about, eyes all open, mouth agape. FM Doll showcases an unhinged subject, a barely coherent Garside, and a song that should be played on every Indie Dancefloor countrywide.
The problem with the record only really comes if you happen to have seen Queen Adreena live. If you haven’t, and you don’t already own any of their work, then this is a fantastic introduction to a dark, and brooding rock band with a bag full of tunes and a pocket full of pills for their mood swings. If you have, then the whole experience might leave you a little disappointed.
The reason for this is that live, Queen Adreena are probably one of the most exciting bands you are ever likely to see. As good as the tunes are, the spectacle of seeing them in full flight is a pure adrenaline rush. Katie Jane normally looks wasted, haunted, and yet still in possession of a voice that a banshee would be proud of.
At times it’s voyeuristic, a brittle girl (usually dressed in little more grotty knickers and a tatty bra) screaming her lungs out about how she “only fucks god”, and all the while she’s throwing herself into these songs with such venom that you actually fear for her safety. It’s ferocious and terrifying, and oddly liberating. Sadly, a live album can’t help but fall short – the show is so dangerous that a mere recording just can’t live up to it. I’m holding out for the DVD.