Queen Kwong: live review
Club Fandango at the Bull and Gate,
Friday 9 September 2011
Queen Kwong’s “London Invasion” started in earnest tonight in London’s legendary Bull and Gate venue (where the likes of PJ Harvey cut her teeth back in the day and bands such as the Libertines played, early on in their careers, more recently.) Queen Kwong began as a bedroom project for Carre’ Callaway, who was discovered aged 17 by Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor who had her support his band on the “With Teeth” tour. Following a brief stint being managed by Jane’s Addiction’s guitarist, Dave Navarro, Carre’ signed to a new management company (who manage both the Raveonettes and the Dum Dum girls) and recorded a debut album with Joe Cardamone of Icarus Line fame. While it’s yet to surface, singles such as “Pet” have got tongues wagging and the hype was more than justified tonight. Playing third on a bill of four (the other notable band being the Terminal Gods who reanimated the corpse of the Sisters of Mercy behind a wall of dry ice, Queen Kwong filled the room and got the good people of London dancing.
What made her performance more remarkable, was the fact that Carre’ had arrived in London only two days previously, was ill and had only one full day of rehearsals with Paulie, her drummer, yet they managed to play hard and tight. Musically, Queen Kwong is like the love child of Stooges-era Iggy and the shoutier end of Kristin Hersh’s Throwing Muses with an added dollop of darkness (well she does love Nick Cave+the Bad Seeds). The band’s set mainly drew on the songs that have surfaced already, such as the bassy rumbling menace of “Pet”, the driving riffola of “Eddie the Kid” and the almost poppy (in a kind of Nirvana way) “Bitter Lips”. There were some newer numbers played which bode well for the forthcoming album. If she plays that hard while ill, jetlagged and with a scratch band, you have to wonder what she could do on a good day.
If you want bold, if you want sassy, if you want to see the saviour of rock, get along to one of the remaining gigs on this invasion. Carre’ and Queen Kwong are around for another couple of weeks, playing 4 or 5 more London shows and a date in Paris.