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  KIX
'Live In Baltimore'
(Frontiers)
Release Date: 21st September 2012


Phil Kane

phil kane

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kix live in baltimore

Here you are then, a very fine live dose of sleazy hair Metal boogie that in places comes about as close as you can physically get to the mighty AC/DC without turning into a kind of sincerest form of flattery. Though to be fair, Kix on the whole do show that you don't have to be from Britain or her colonies to nail the boogie groove.

Kix originally hail from 1981 but after a decade of success the band called it a day in 1995; another lingering victim of grunge's bonfire of the vanities. Though many found glee in the purging of the hair Metal bands, Kix were one of the undeserving outfits who got caught up in the resulting and protracted pogrom.

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The band's resurrection in 2003 saw them return like long lost delinquent uncles, the ones that would really piss off your mum then sneak out the house with your dad looking for a beer and a fight. With regular appearances at festivals and biker rallies, some as headliners, Kix have been burning up stages throughout the States ever since, rampaging with the zeal only aging cock jockeys wanting to wring as much life out of the limited time they have left can muster.

It is a CD/DVD package bursting at the seams with fan favourites and choice album cuts and what a little gem it is too, being the first fruits of the band signing up with Frontiers earlier this year. With a production job to die for, 'Live In Baltimore', recorded at the city's Rams Head Live venue, is just about as raw sounding as you can get without actually being at the gig.

The band, Steve Whiteman on lead vocals, Ronnie '10/10' Younkins on guitars, Brian 'Damage' Forsythe on guitars and Jimmy 'Chocolate' Chalfant on drums and Mark Schenker on bass (they couldn't rope in founding member and main song-writer Donnie Purnell) sound like they are having just as big a blast as the audience. Whiteman especially seems to be enjoying himself, interacting well with the crowd; a crude, hilarious front man whose vocal is sometimes not great, suggesting any studio tweaks have been kept to a minimum, yet it fits the space like a glove.

The set list is basically a nostalgia trip being lifted from the first five albums with the 'Blow My Fuse' album featuring quite heavily. It is a grab bag of crowd pleasing goodies from the good old bad ol' days with 'Cold Blood', opener 'No Ring Around Rosie', 'Blow My Fuse', 'Cold Shower', 'Lie Like A Rug', 'Girl Money' and 'Kix Are For Kids' and the sixteen minute fan favourite 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah' closing the show. With the exception of the hit ballad 'Don't Close Your Eyes' that mercifully shows up early in the set, the album thunders along with the relentless determination of a sobering up alcoholic looking for that first drink of the day.

Is 'Live In Baltimore' any good? Does the Pope fart in the bath? Of course it is good, very good in fact. It's a chunk of satisfyingly dumb assed, hick town, thick skinned American rock n' roll that panders to the lowest common denominator and parties like it is still the 1980s but then, no one said it had to be clever. It rocks like a bastard and kicks like a mule.

Steve Whiteman said: "This is a great thing for us and we hope it's a great thing for Kix fans all around the world. We are so thrilled to finally be able to give the fans what they have been asking for, a live DVD and new Kix music in 2013! We have been hard at work getting new material together that we think will stand shoulder to shoulder with any previous KIX record. It's a really exciting time for Kix!" If this album is anything to go by, things are looking to get very exciting indeed.

On the downside, the money men have yet again got involved with 'Live In Baltimore' being released in three different formats; the cd with eleven tracks, the digital version with sixteen tracks and the DVD with the full twenty tracks. Attempting such flagrant profiteering renders any talk by the band of this 'being just for the fans' sounding a little hollow.

Grasping corporate issues aside, if the sleazier side of rock n' roll is your thing, then so is Kix and 'Live In Baltimore'. If you were, or still are, into the likes of Ratt and Cinderella then you will already know about this lot. If, on the other hand, you haven't the faintest idea what the fuck it is all about then get a copy and have yersel' a really good time.

'Live In Baltimore' is not the best live album you will hear but it sure as hell rocks with the bollocks the size of dumbbells. Just get it and enjoy.

★★★★☆


21.9.12


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