Equally Cursed And Blessed

Music sounds better with ballyhoo...the original [a]Insane Clown Posse[/a]...

This is a story of blood, sweat and diamond codpieces. Nothing but the sweat is real, of course, but it is a triumphant tale nevertheless.

For this is how a bad rock band have etched their name in the bedrock of legend by disguising a dearth of talent with a dollop of face-paint. After all, when faced with a pageant of fire-breathing freaks in platform boots and stegosaurus-spiked body armour, who’s going to notice that the music sucks?

Welcome to [a]Kiss[/a] FM. Now in its third decade of transmission, now in 3-D. While the [a]Kiss[/a] merchandising behemoth expands into the millennium, leaving a trail of lunchboxes and underpants in its wake, the original gimmick – the sham glam make-up – liberates the band from the wrinkly stigmata of old age. Other than a few telltale signs – wigs where once there was hair – tonight is just like 1972, only bigger. And that’s not just [a]Gene Simmons[/a]’ arse.

This is a full-scale theatrical event. Ace Frehley‘s guitar smokes, then flies out of his hands into the lofty heights of Wembley before reappearing on 3-D video screens, orbiting the earth. Paul Stanley levitates to a platform in the centre of the arena, Peter Criss‘ entire drum kit travels around like a spaceship. And when Simmons chews blood capsules and extends his famous tongue it’s up there on the screens, hundreds of feet high, ersatz plasma running in rivers down his double chin. Fantastic.

Perhaps [a]Kiss[/a] have turned out a few semi-classic anthems – the marvellously stupid ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ and ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’ – but music was never the point. Significantly, the turgid new ‘Psycho Circus’ material is accompanied by the most distracting effects, and the dullest of the oldies are embellished with flame-throwers, high kicks and confetti torrents.

[a]Kiss[/a] are the original Insane Clown Posse, shock rock crusaders who will prosper as long as they continue to understand what so many bands forget: music sounds better with ballyhoo. Predictions for the next tour? Holograms on the moon. Just don’t expect to remember the songs.