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~*Queen Adreena*~


Queen Adreena: London EC1 333 Club August 1999
She freaked out early-'90s indieland with her intensity and then ran off to scream at mountains, but we have at last arrived at the What Katie Jane Did Next Moment. Six years on, the one-time singer of the splendidly dysfunctional Daisy Chainsaw - Katie Jane Garside - is back with her former guitarist Crispin Grey and a bassist who looks like a very tall Omar Sharif. It's a low-key re-emergence, but Garside's charisma makes itself felt before she's even opened her mouth. Hair up in neurotic dolly tangle, she paces the stage. Her fingers wander. She finds her face and prods at it, as if suddenly discovering something on the end of her neck. And, ooh, a nose! As the frenzy of 'Cold Fish' demonstrates, however, Garside is no empty poseur. With her voice having gained a raging edge to add to its childlike quality she throws herself fully into Queen Adreena's torrid dreamscape rock thing. All sicko-glam paroxysms and Grimm fairy-tale trilling, they're already looking like a great Magic Rock band, suspended in that moment between the toys coming alive at midnight and the horror bursting up from under the floorboards. And they have the best succubus singer in rock. She's Psycho Björk, Janice In Wonderland, Polly Harpy. The daisy has blossomed, but it's still got vicious teeth. Roger Morton
Queen Adreena: London, Madame Jo Jo's, Wednesday August 23 1999 (from Music 365)
It's not quite yer typical indie night out. The bassist is tall, mean and muscular… he's also wearing a sarong and a tight JP Gaultier-esque top that makes him look like an auditioning pornstar wannabe. The drummer's wearing a kilt and very little else, and the guitarist is Crispin Gray, his hair fey and flimsy, his make-up Richey at his most feminine and his clothes slinky and black... It looks great against the womb-red sofas and drapes of this Soho haunt, but the image is only complete when Katie Jane Garside comes twirling on to the stage in her trademark diaphanous shift and runaway hair. Katie Jane and Crispin once were Daisy Chainsaw, but this is no slight return to the indie days of the early Nineties. This is balls-out, screaming, ripping at your jugular with the ferocious frenzy of rock'n'roll. From the moment that the guitar cranks and howls into 'Cold Fish', we're hooked, drawn along on a torrent of vicious chords and seething vocals from Katie Jane. She swoops, she hollers, she lets the demons rip, tearing through the scary 'I Adore You' like an axe through young wood and frightening the bejaysus out of everyone within 10 yards of her. This is sweet, raucous pleasure - a Chinese Wall of sound, twisting and turning like a pool at the battering end of a waterfall. Queen Adreena are dark and haunting, becoming even more so with their awesome rendition of the old Appalachian I-love-you-so-much-I'm-gonna-stab-you-through-the-heart murder song 'Pretty Polly', which Katie Jane imbues with frightening pathos. Not a band to sidle up to if you don't care for your music to be morbid and moving, Queen Adreena are a dark delight waiting at a crossroads near you. Be there at midnight. Michael Byrne
Queen Adreena: (supporting Rico) at the Joiners Arms, November 15, 1999
Some people on here might be interested in the support band, Queen Adreena, since they're essentially an updated version of Daisy Chainsaw- it's Katie Jane Garside and The Bloke With The Posh Name Who Wrote All The Songs And Who Now Looks Like A Tortoise[1]. And they're really quite good- lots of tribal drumming, unintelligible wailing from Katie, scattered quiet bits and a tendency to go berserk every time you think things are about to get a bit dull. They look good too- a very tall posey bassist bloke in a Chinese dress, a drummer who looks scarily like Maxim from the Prodigy, a guitarist who really doesn't look that much like a tortoise and of course Katie. Who is still really thin and still 100% bonkers. I was having quite a discussion with someone afterwards as to whether she was, er, "on something" or is just naturally Like That. Strange girl. Anyway, very impressive live, though I have to say they don't really deal in catchy tunes, there was nothing I walked away humming afterwards. If anyone's interested, they've got a single out now/soon (can't see a release date on the promo) which is called "X-ing Off The Days" and is very 80s-style tribal drums & waily vocals so gets the Scathe Seal Of Approval.
Queen Adreena: Underwood Art Gallery, London. January 2000
THIS is strange - a cellar full of art types swooning over arty videos and slide exhibitions, the finale provided by ex-Daisy Chainsaw wild woman Katie Jane Garside and her new band Queen Adreena. Minimal lighting meant that, if it wasn't for her glow-in-the-dark orange sandals, Katie would have been virtually hidden. And as she spends half the set singing provocatively from a chair, you could be forgiven for thinking you're in a strip joint. Queen Adreena meander through a brief set, with the emphasis placed on atmospheric, sensual and brooding songs full of rolling bass lines and tribal drumming. A heavy metal Bjork, perhaps? Darren Sadler
Queen Adreena: London Brixton Mass, March 2000
Yo! Live rock'n'roll! Pay £15 to watch four Beatles-fixated boring blokes in tacky tracky tops staring at their crappy off-brand retro trainers for three quarters of a bleeding hour? Fuck off! That's not entertainment! See this Queen Adreena? A clinically insane drummer with mad Joker out of Batman make-up? Check! A ski-slope cheekboned pretty boy guitarist called Crispin who combs his gurly hair during songs and seems to have never heard of beer or pies or, indeed, the fact that you can legally change your name to something vaguely masculine by deed poll? Check! And have they got a criminally handsome bassist in a peaked KGB hat and pristine purple Catholic priest's cassock to top it all off? Check! And, of course, Katie Jane Garside - the mad-hair tossing, torn underwear-sporting shrieking she-devil, "Look at me! No! DON'T look at me!" post-goth one-woman onstage apocalypse banshee who crawled from the flaming wreckage of early-1990s one-hit punk rock wonders Daisy Chainsaw, spent some time in a purple house in the Lake District owned by an old woman called Vanya and then bumped into Chainsaw collaborator Crispin 'Portrait Of Dorian' Gray and decided to do it all over again? Yes! Except MADDER this time maybe? Oh yes! Fuck yes! To be crudely reductive, Queen Adreena have two sorts of songs. They've got sharp stabs of guttural punk devil-rock spatter-core dementia like 'Cold Fish' and then they've got mind-meltingly ooky-spooky ghost-train rides through the darkest corners of the inhuman psyche like tonight's outro 'Heavenly Surrender' and the new single 'I Adore You'. Aye up! There she goes again! Radio-mike doo-dah strapped to her thigh with black gaffer tape (making her look like some sort of lo-fi punk-cabaret Borg as fever-dreamed by an opium-traumatised Lewis Carroll) weaving and bopping like a demon-possessed nun with her wimple caught in a live light socket, half shrieking and half sweetly billy-cooing the deranged mantra: "I only make love to Jesus/I only fuck God!". Talk about choosy! And Crispin and Jokerman and disgustingly handsome KGB-vicar bloke posture, preen and pose homoerotically but all eyes are on the nightmare escaped from a Victorian children's nursery that is Katie Jane Garside and all lips are mouthing the horribly inevitable phrase: "Fucking HELL! Kate fucking Bush on CRACK! Or WHAT!?!?!" Which is a fair comment. A star is emphatically reborn. Steven Wells
Queen Adreena: Dingwalls, April 20,2000 from
Katie Jane Garside is not human. You cannot imagine her engaging in such soulless mortal tasks as going to the toilet, eating, burping, belching. The mere thought is profanity, sacrilege. You can almost see the outline of wings shimmering iridescently out behind her and she is seemingly unencumbered by mere gravity as she flitters and swoops, leaps and tumbles around the small stage. She is an unearthly dedicate being, unhindered and ethereal. Katie Jane Garside is a faery. And the music she performs is faery music. Sometimes it's a faery wedding, all pagan joyousness and spirit, tranquil yet turbelescant. Freeform emotion unhindered by such earthy mundanity as restraint and dignity. Sometimes it's faery funeral music wallowing and drowning in unleashed unexorcised demons, malevolent, sour and unpurged. An uncomfortable feeling of voyeurism abounds and unsettles. Is she mad or just creative? Schizophrenic or one hell of an actress? You get the chilling feeling though that this isn't an act, an enticing crowd pleasing stage persona. This is Katie Jane's life, her very essence and being. And I thank god I'm not her. It's just too...too naked in these blinkered emotionless times, like watching someone have sex in public, fascinatingly horrifingy compelling. I read a review in the NME recently that described Katie Jane as Kate Bush on crack. Far be it that I plagiarise something but this description is just so apt. That wispy childish frame, flower clad brown hair, sense of vulnerability, madness and pain, shrieking caterwauling voice that still has the power to rip at your heart and pull it bleeding to the floor. And even more unhinged and unshackled... The other band members fade somewhat in the glow of her presence but are all still beautiful and otherwordly, all cheekbones and jagged outlines. No fleshy humanity to spoil the spell. The guitars, normally such an earthy sensible instrument crash and burn, swoop and soar along with Katie Jane's vocal chords. There seems to be no discernable choruses or obvious catchy tunes yet the songs flow effortlessly along, walls of melody, rage and delicacy, none of your normal verse chorus verse numbers here. Queen Adreena are far too clever to pander to such conformist mundanities. They DON'T play 'Love Your Money', they're too busy turning the concept of music inside out and creating a sound, unique and bizarre, ugly and sublime. Bow down and worship at the altar of Queen Adreena.
Queen Adreena: Manchester Music Box April 12, 2000
Some amongst you may remember the fuzzed up speed pop of Daisy Chainsaw, although not that many of you. Their one success, Love Your Money, was The Primitives produced by monkeys mid-grand mal but then The Primitives were past their sell-by date later that very afternoon, so little hope for those that came afterwards. Hell, most of the people remember them better because the bassist vomited what we thought was blood but actually turned out to be Red Witches (a deathly combination of pernod, blackcurrant, lager and cider, which is far worse than you know and not endorsed by the management in any form), which was very annoying because blood's actually easier to get out and slightly more rock'n'roll than the more mundane by-products of alcohol poisoning. That was a decade and a handful of compilation album royalty cheques ago. In the mean time, something went wrong. Katie Jane Garside, a woman referred to on to many occasions as a pop pixie for her ultra-shrill, baby-talk vocals was officially unwell for a very long time. In a 'not allowed to live by herself" kind of way. That unwell. Queen Adreena is what comes out of that. When they come to stage, there are doubts. Frilly Goths now? A tiny, emaciated, glazed-eyed vocalist, Garside as Blake's own adoring succubus, flanked by a bloke bassist in a cassock and Cuban heels to her left and Austin Powers' peroxide Mod buddy to the right. The shredded baby doll, the phantom chords from the keyboard and the audience seems concerned. Will Katie's return be risible, a senseless and innocent All About Eve revival, all fairy rings and sepulchral references? Was I going to have to back away from the review, because even I have lines I will not cross and mocking the afflicted is well on the other side of my principles. So, like everyone else, I just hunker down and cross everything crossable a couple of times: I'd risk later rheumatism here to save them from current embarrassment. Yet when Katie sings, the result is something as gruesome as cutting flowers. Don't think that's so bad? Imagine you're a begonia, then get back to me. To describe this as a performance is to miss the point and to understate. Performance means that, whatever has happened, whatever the situation, you go out and you do your job for the paying audience. It also implies mere facade, an endeavor of deception. Imagine instead Kate Bush fronting the Manic Street Preachers, but not as they are now. Kate at her most insidious, malignant, primal and seductive. The Manics in their early toxic glitz era. Can you hear a damn word Katie sings? Not a one. Doesn't matter. Language is merely a refinement of noise. Strip away the words and what's left is the intention of tone, the rhythm of force and the message in its most primitive form. And that message is damned scary. Y'see, lots of bands experiment with the concept of insanity: it is, after all, a fairly deranged world and music one of its more unsettled and unsettling trades, so madness and dysfunction are natural topics. There's point tonight when the audience may be witnessing a full psychotic attack. Katie, hair over her eyes, whisperkeens into her microphone, inaudible and slight, a rocking motion giving the slightest pulse and the fear of derangement: have we crossed that line, we ask ourselves, from observers to rubberneckers? There she stands, first-wife-in-the-attic scale crazed, terrifyingly sexual, distressingly vulnerable, taunting and pleading to the crowd in turns. It induces discomfort, a sensation from which we are rescued only by sudden storms of glittering power, a screaming and a raging and a scalding of furies and fears. For this kind of impact most bands need eighteen lighting guys and a few generator trucks. Yet the enormity of the production would dwarf the impact: Queen Adreena are inches away, exposing the audience to something that, if it had a comfortably insulating level of irony, would be Goth. But don't think Souxsie and her petty shock tactics disguising rock goddess aspirations: think Henry Rollins reading from Now Watch Him Die, Tori Amos without the art school theatrics or footage of those early Stooges gigs, back when there was nothing more shocking in Christendom than Iggy's cock. Ok, so it's fey, but that's the feyest juggernaut I've ever seen, dipping from sepulchral marches to aftermath lullabies. On a wet Wednesday night before a baffled audience, half of whom were shuffling their feet in a slightly embarrassed manner, Queen Adreena were brittle, dissolving, intoxicating and alienating. If they can find their own audience, who come solely for them and not because they're mates with the support act, one of two things will happen. They'll become successful and can continue to purge their demons on stage before a loving assembly or they'll get better and not need to rip themselves open like this. I have no idea which I'd rather happened. Queen Adreena's debut album, Taxidermy, is out now on Blanco y Negro. RMW

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