It’s only fitting that Motley Crue were playing a reunion show across town the same night newcomer glam-rock band Louis XIV were headlining the Troubadour. With riff-tastic songs about sex, women, and more sex, Louis XIV are, in attitude at least, only a couple of cans of AquaNet removed from the Crue. The San Diego group’s debut album “The Best Little Secrets Are Kept” (Atlantic) is a fun bit of AC/DC-meets-David Bowie pop-metal; live, though, Louis don’t make good on their promise.
Coming off as a concept band who don’t entirely own the concept, Louis XIV is shackled by having a song, “Finding out True Love is Blind,” that so far outshines the rest of their record, it’s blinding.
The recorded version has call-back vocals that were buried in the mix, a woman’s part sung onstage by sideman Brian Karscig, and a boppin’ middle section that was passed over like an afterthought. If the band knows that this is their best song, or even their hit song, they didn’t show it, shrugging it off like they just didn’t care.
That’s indicative of a bigger problem going on here: For the updated sexy-leather, girl-crazy sound to work, Ozzy Osbourne look-alike frontman Jason Hill needs to sneer with a bit of irony, or at least look like he enjoys the rock roleplaying. Instead, he struts because that’s what Louis XIV’s music calls for — and, in doing so, he becomes part of the rock cliche he’s apparently trying to poke a hole into.