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Louis XIV


I am not surprised by the lacklustre turnout when I come to the top of the stairs at the Zoo; after all, it's a Thursday night. But the devotees who have ventured out tonight seem not, at first, to be here for San Diego's Louis XIV, the headlining band, but for locals Flamingo Crash (not, as the promotional flyer would have us believe, "Flamingo Cash").

  
  

As Flamingo Crash starts up their first song, the crowd is drawn toward the charismatic, Robert Smith look-alike vocalist, Isaac Emmanuel, who jerks and flails with his electric shock therapy hair and New Wave stance. Keyboardist, Cate Porter, is a vision in black with her stark white hair and black glasses lending a chiaroscuro, graphic-mod tone to the stage. Their music is both melodic and energising, and reminds me of UK musicians from the '80s like Orange Juice, The The, The Cure, early Killing Joke and, to some extent early Genesis (when Peter Gabriel, with his reverse mohawk, was the lead singer). Kudos to Matthew Harrison, one of the best drummers I've seen in a while. This band has, tonight, become one of my favourites in the local scene. Red Riders perform next and provide a solid rock interlude. The band provides the vibe to get the crowd moving in preparation for the headliners.

  
  

When Louis XIV saunter on stage, I am situated front row centre, eye-level with the crotch of singer, Jason Hill. I am surrounded by horny girls and only slightly less excited boys, who seem hell-bent on taking advantage of the situation. In diamond-braceleted, retro-mulleted gorgeousness, Jason smirks, sneers and leers his way through a brilliant set, camping it up at every opportunity. Although more well known tracks like "Louis XIV", "Paper Doll" and "Hey Teacher" get the crowd singing along to lines like "Bang me like the girls in Hong Kong", some of their newer tracks show off the multiskilled musicianship of the band, with Jason taking a back seat on keyboards to allow guitarist Brian Karscig, flaunting a sassy Amish rock-god look, to take the lead. Bassist James Armbrust provides the eye candy and some solid funking lines to sex up the fans, along with the razor sharp go-go beats of Mark Maigaard. The girls beside me need no encouragement and, between scamming free wine from Jason and stroking James' legs, they strike the perfect balance between excited fans and potential stalkers.

  
  

The band rocks my socks off in a devious way, all charm and seduction, winks and tight pants. They are part Eddie Izzard, T-Rex, Chocolate Watchband and Spinal Tap. Some slide guitar on "God Killed the Queen" from Jason and we belong to them. Honestly, they could have anybody in the crowd and they leave us panting for more. Amazing band and their album, "The Best Little Secrets are Kept", is one of my favourite releases this year. Louis XIV has an aura of innocent molestation, of teasing and taunting, their lyrics a blend of romance and tongue-in-cheek misogynism. If at first you don't love them, try again. They grow on you and once they have, they will seduce you, guaranteed.

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