By KISS standards, the Islington Academy is effectively the box-room of venues but walking in and seeing that huge, lit-up KISS logo and the multiple stacks of amps has never made the hall seem so big. On a smaller stage, KISS lose none of their pomp with Gene Simmons’ constant antagonistic pointing and demonic gestures during cuts like ‘Cold Gin’ made all the more disturbing by his copious salivation over the stage. Keeping the crowd entertained throughout was Paul Stanley’s natural swagger and brief banter coupled with some great audience participation on rock gems like ‘Love Gun’. Of course the full stage show wasn’t present, but the confetti storm during ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’, followed by Paul smashing his guitar made the night feel much ‘bigger’ than it really was. Of particular note was how the newer additions to the band responded to the audience. Tommy Thayer has clearly come in to his own, assuming the role of the Spaceman brilliantly and was more than obviously enjoying himself, feeding off the undeniably huge energy present in the 800 capacity venue. Eric Singer was no slouch either, not only proving himself a great drummer, but also delivering a fantastic vocal performance during ‘Black Diamond’. It was great to see all four members acting as a cohesive band, showing KISS as more than just Paul and Gene’s group.
The only negative aspect of the concert was its disappointingly short length. Having been told to expect a fifteen song set, the proceedings were clearly cut short with staples such as ‘Deuce’, ‘Shout It Out Loud’ and ‘Lick It Up’ unfortunately missing. Despite this however, the concert proved itself worth every penny as it truly was a once in a life time opportunity to see KISS in such an intimate setting. One might think that without the intricate theatrics such as the pyro and the blood, KISS live would fall short of entertaining. On the contrary, KISS unquestionably proved not only that their music is more important than the visual show, but that they still have the ability to enthral a crowd on the strength of the band itself rather than the extra additions.