It was somewhat surprising to recall, on the way to Nottingham, that it is nearly five years since I first (and last) saw Queen Adreena live, at the ill-fated Lost Weekend back in July 2000. Back then, they had not long since emerged from the long-dead ashes of Daisy Chainsaw, with one album (Taxidermy) only just released. And they were an entrancing, if unsettling, live band back then.
So fast forward five years, and what do we have? Well, not all that much has changed, to be honest. Another album long-since released (Drink Me), and a new one due shortly (Butcher and the Butterfly). The rather kooky stageplay and vocal theatrics of Katie-Jane are all still present and correct, the music hasn’t really changed or evolved much. But then, should it have to? They have always struck me as a band you will either love or hate. And following last night, it still stands. A good turnout in the smaller venue at Rock City, with what appeared to be an awful lot of QA devotees, and a handful of what you might call interested observers.
First up anyway were support act Three Children of Fortune, who seemed to hark back to the heyday of mid-90s indie-rock. I couldn’t quite place who they sounded like, but it all sounded just a little too familiar for the most part. My interest was only really heightened during the last track (and single) Scarlet Fever, which was really rather wonderful…
Onto QA. Onto the stage with little announcement, a few lines of something unintelligable from Katie-Jane, and the unmistakable stomp and sleaze of Kitty Collar Tight gets things going. It becomes very clear that Katie-Jane appears to exist in her own little private world – very little is said directly to the crowd, between song banter is impossible to work out. Much of the set is new, and as mentioned there is nothing really advancing on previous releases – they happily seem to fit into the set like they had been played many times before. It seems that her stage antics were going to be restrained, too.
But, er, no. Come Cold Fish, she is hanging of the rigging above the stage with one arm, bare feet on the monitors, continuing as if this was the most normal thing in the world. At which point I cast a look across the band and realise just how strange a bunch they look. Guitarist Crispin Grey is as ever resplendent in black pinstripe suit-jacket, scarf and silver eyeliner (and all fierce blonde hair and sharp cheekbones), bassist Orson Wajih melts into the background in a tangle of black hair, and drummer Pete Howard…well, you wouldn’t spill his pint.
Of the (many) new songs aired, FM Doll (OK, Fuck Me Doll) is by far the best – although perhaps that is just the fact that I am familiar with it. Either way, it is a classic QA single – stomping, heavy drum beat, snarling guitars and lyrics about sex. Little chance given to look back, a shame given how many great songs they have in their back catalogue (so no Soda Dreamer, X-ing Off The Days, Madrayakin, or I Adore You, amongst others), but the end of the set did get interesting.
She screams her way though Pretty Like Drugs, and at the end of it, hurls herself at Crispin and floors him. This follows some odd tussling in the songs preceding. The he gets up, calm as you like, and rings out the opening to a wondrous Razorblade Sky. After which, the band leave the stage leaving Katie-Jane to do a brief snippet of A Heavenly Surrender a-cappella. She hurls her mic down, and off she goes.
One track in the encore – Pretty Polly – and they are off again. Katie-Jane’s tease again done for the night. Roll on Sheffield in May.