Kid Rock : London Brixton Academy

The Titty Bar Kid treads that fine line between clever and stupid...

Thirteen million Americans say licking pussy and smoking crack is good. Can you argue? Not tonight because we’re in the presence of Pamela Anderson-datin’, titty bar-lovin’, whisky-guzzlin’, coke-puffin’, ‘trailer trash’ imitator Bob Ritchie and his naughty metal rap panto.

Look out children, Kid Rock‘s behind you! The man who found the missing link between Eminem and ZZ Top has brought the full stage show over. Four smirking female go-go dancers wind lasciviously before a giant stars’n’stripes; fireworks, flamebursts and bomb sounds punctuate the Metallica gone Run DMC breakbeat bombast of the Twisted Brown Trucker band, and hey, the man himself changes hats three times.

As an Axl Rose gone Beastie Boys MC, the Kid is actually pretty adept. Slick and full of macho schtick he jaws easily with the Kiss-tee shirted, Slipknot-tattooed crowd about his love of fishin’, huntin’, snortin’ and particularly his favourite thing, “lickin pussy”. A giant bird-flipping inflatable fist is pumped for ‘Fuck Off’, and there’s a memorial interlude where Rock goes down on one knee in front of a projection of his deceased dwarf sidekick MC Joe while the crowd sing-along: [I]”3 foot nine with a ten foot dick”[/I]. Respect (?)

So far, so locker room. After paying verbal tribute to Brit-bands-who-loved-the-blues, Kid yowls his own12 bar, ‘If I Was President’, promising to turn the churches into strip clubs and let everyone keep their guns. He jams ‘Walk This Way’ on his guitarists frets, and two thirds in, decides to ‘conduct’ the band using drumsticks. In the few gaps between the vaudeville where the band get to rock out on ‘Cowboy’ and ‘Bawitdaba’ and cover Guns ‘N Roses‘ ‘It’s So Easy’, they prove they can roll with the big bizkits, even if goatee’d guitarist Kenny seems more interested in the go-go girls’ jiggy bits.

The jock metal prowess does not, however, obliterate the sense of hollowness lurking behind the Kid Rock phenomenon. Beneath the cartoon Americana of his Uncle Sam top-hatted ‘honesty’ lies the high grade irony of kids in Rage ‘Che Guevara’ teeshirts bugging out to Rock‘s bigot friendly encore – Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, and a very big hole where the real radical stuff should be.

Harmless pussy lickin’ and trailer trash affirmation or a parody-assed, dummy wigga, taking the piss outta the working classes and cashing his cheques? Look out America, the Titty Bar Kid‘s on all sides of ya.

Roger Morton