Louis XIV
Thur April 7th
320 SE 2nd Ave

The reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715) saw the ascendancy of France, both politically and culturally, as the pre-eminent European power of the 17th century. His ability to make synonymous the body politic and his person, asserted in the famous utterance, "L'état, c'est moi" (I am the state), was legitimized by his half-century of personal, absolute rule. To this day, his reign is remembered as a textbook example of absolutism, hedonism, and a skillful union of style and substance that makes him the king non plus ultra of European history.

Such egotism, stylistic excess, unassailable legitimacy and power must be attractive concepts to Louis XIV lead-singer Jason Hill and his group of self-absorbed, highly stylized rock'n'roll upstarts attempting to revive the gilded glitter-age of the early 1970s. 30-some years after the Gene Jeanie let himself go, the gong was banged, and her life was saved by rock'n'roll, there is palpable nostalgia for a past that Hill, for one, is most likely too young to remember. However, regardless of whether rock'n'roll has ever been tied to the tracks, stuck in a tree, or locked in a tower, most of these acts, Louis XIV included, fail for the same reason: they confuse preservation with salvation, neglecting inventiveness and genuine subversion in favor of faithfully executed reproductions and mock shock.

The issue in question isn't whether Louis XIV is legitimate rock'n'roll royalty, or court jesters playing king for the day. It is obvious, from Hill's unwillingness to add anything truly challenging to the well-worn formula of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll (except, possibly, even more sex), that he is content with playing dress up. The question is, do these clothes need to be brought, er, out of the closet? The answer, sadly, is no. Though this Emperor may prefer to wear no clothes, the royal We is startlingly undersized.