Atlanta, GA • June 11, 2005
Playing an afternoon set on the second day of Atlanta’s Music Midtown weekend festival, California’s Louis XIV relive the spirit of T. Rex and David Bowie for a respectable crowd of onlookers. They seem cocky, their lyrics are sexist (“she takes off her clothes / she likes to tell this boy what to do / pledges her allegiance to the united state of Me”), and the two of the four band members used to be in an alternative-country band called Convoy. These 3 strikes would normally push them right out of my listening field, if their music wasn’t so damn catchy.
Their 45 minute set, beneath an overcast summer sky, covered just about every song off their major label debut, Best Little Secrets Are Kept. Though many of these songs are undeniably well-executed pop songs, they also have a tendency to blend together, creating moments of “didn’t they already play that?” And every song — I mean every single one — is about sex. Not subtle hints, or lyrical double entendres, but the “squeeze my lemon until the juice runs down my leg” sort of obviousness. I mean, “we don’t have to go to the pool if you want me to make you wet,” doesn’t exactly leave much to the imagination, does it?
Still they perform well together, and I found myself surprised not only at lead vocalist Jason Hill’s vocal range, but his abilities as a guitarist. He may look like Steve Perry, but he plays like Joe Perry. Midway through the set he strapped on an acoustic and asked the audience, “hope you don’t mind if we play around a bit,” before leading the band into an inspired jam. It was one of those wonderful moments of, presumably, spontaneous music that can only happen in live performance and these sex-crazed men from San Diego made the most of it.
Having recently toured in the supporting role for media darlings The Killers, the two bands have forged a friendship that earns guest appearances. During “Finding Out True Love is Blind” Hill welcomes Ronnie Vanucci (drummer for The Killers) onto the stage to join the band on guitar. This special guest went unappreciated by most who didn’t seem to recognize the drummer out of context, even with the extreme closeups on the massive video screen behind the band.
Louis XIV is one of those bands you can’t help but enjoy, despite what you may think of how unoriginal or offensive they are. Don’t analyze, don’t judge, just shut up and have fun.
Louis XIV: www.louisxiv.net