King Adora

Newbury Corn Exchange


"Singer-songwriter (23) seeks talented musicians to complete melodic rock band" reads the classified ad in the back pages of a certain rock weekly; "Influences incl. Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Keane, Turin Brakes". Now let's get this straight, there's nothing "rock" about Coldplay, or Snow Patrol for that matter. In fact all of the afore mentioned are so distinctively "un-rock" that they make the Thrills look like Motley Crüe (ok, perhaps not) and are precisely the sort of bland, faceless bands that King Adora are waging war against, and it's about time too. After all, they're a band who like their rock stars to look like rock stars, as opposed to resembling a bunch of lads randomly selected from their local branch of Next.

Tonight King Adora deliver a fusion of old-skool rawk riffs, Maxi Browne's vocal dramatics and rampant, raging energy, all helped down with a healthy dose of eyeliner and lipgloss. After opener Maniac Love, in many respects the new suitably sleazy KA anthem which sees Maxi hollering the chorus "You only love me when you're drunk", the quartet set about charming their way into Newbury's hearts. And for the best part they succeed.

Despite playing material largely from their new album Who Do You Love?, this doesn't mute the crowd's response in anyway whatsoever, the throng of diehards down the front, including several fans down from London, making enough noise to deafen the casual listeners milling cautiously towards the back. Drag, "a modern day Lola" is unashamedly T-Rex, yet rip-roaring all the same, Depression bears an uncanny resemblance to glitter-chic predecessors Mansun and Sweet Abandon is essentially Suffocate's bigger sister - bolder, leaner and perhaps wiser.

Older songs like Smoulder and Suffocate prompt a rapturous reaction from the audience, the former sounding particularly explosive. Bionic ends the band's set, Maxi tossing aside his guitar nonchalantly and bringing the mic stand down into the photo pit to let the fans sing along.

Although not exactly the darlings of the music press they were this time three years ago, by playing gigs as explosive as tonight's, KA show that they're still a force to be reckoned with. "It was great to play on such a big stage again" effused bassist Robbie after the show, and hopefully if King Adora can continue to expand their ever-growing fanbase and keep up the consistent high standards of their live shows then it may not be too long until they can abandon the toilet circuit and return to the larger stage where they rightfully belong.

Clive Drew