with Hot Hot Heat, Louis XIV
House of Blues, Orlando, Fl • January 10, 2008
Editors are the United Kingdom’s answer to Interpol, and since Interpol are America’s answer to the UK’s Joy Division, the musical world has officially come full circle and proved once again that Joy Division were a great band!
In front of a sadly-scarce House of Blues audience, San Diego’s Louis XIV stepped out as an anonymous band and left 30 minutes later as stage stealers.
“I’ve never heard a band for the first time and liked them that much!,” I heard a drunken male voice behind me say.
Louis XIV are a garage rock band who pile their lyrics up with double entendres (“I said rollover do me a trick/ Do it with your shoes on it’d be a kick/ Ah tell me the horse that you pick/ Let me buy you a lollipop you want to lick” –“Paper Doll”) and their 2005 debut was so soaked in sex that it became a bit of a joke to those who weren’t wooed by its irresistible grooves. I saw them play an early afternoon set at Music Midtown back then and liked ’em, but the show they gave on this January night in 2008 was so far superior that I felt I was watching a completely different band!
The new and improved Louis XIV embody the spirit of ’70s rock, the cheekiness of glam, and the fuck-all attitude of garage bands around the world. “Guilt By Association,” off the upcoming Slick Dogs and Ponies, is one of the best songs they’ve ever written — even if vocalist/guitarist Jason Hill cops a lot of his vocal dynamics from Jack White (or maybe because of it).
For the redundant synth pop, with its yelping vocals and insecure stage presence, I blame Canada. Popping in to Orlando from the Great White North, Hot Hot Heat beat the peg of ’80s new wave further into the sands of it’s been done. I once fell victim to the pop element of their early works (“Middle of Nowhere,” “Bandages”), but I quickly got over their second-rate XTC rip-offs. The Editors’ audience ate it up though, worshipping every bounce of frontman Steve Bay’s curly ‘fro.
Washing off the pastel colors of Hot Hot Heat with the dark post-post-post alternative rock baritone of Tom Smith, I sank into the vast sounds of Editors. Smith may be channeling Ian Curtis when he sings, but he’s mimicking Michael Stipe when he twitches behind the microphone. I happen to adore R.E.M. and so whereas this jerky dance could be construed as unoriginal, I find it oddly endearing. The quality of songs like “The Racing Rats” and “Blood” don’t hurt my ability to overlook the overlaps of Editors and bands that have come before, of course.
Like a lot of our British rock neighbors, Editors are shooting for the moon. They may be playing in front of a mere 1,000 people or so, but they’ve got the amps cranked up as if they were standing center stage at an arena. They want to be U2, or at least Coldplay, and so long as they keep playing as if they are already peers of those pillars of popular music they just might get to play on those big fields one day alongside them.
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.