May 10, 2010
By Eamon Sweeney

A group of entrepreneurial geniuses outside the O2 are painting faces for a fiver.

They're doing a roaring trade, in stark contrast to the almost-deserted burger and hot-dog stands. I haven't witnessed such enterprise on the way to a gig since a bunch of bright sparks flogged fake eyebrows at Oasis's first appearance at Slane in 1995.

Kiss inspire a unique devotion. In an age when most bands look almost exactly like their audience, they're a blast of old-fashioned outrageousness.

The make-up also comes in handy in helping to conceal how much they've aged, but they're also one of those rare groups where it really doesn't matter if they're 19 or 90.

Kiss are about bright lights, flying guitars, fake blood, breathing fire and a relentless barrage of ear-piercing fireworks. Oh, they also manage to play some songs.

The flamboyant four boast huge hits from the 70s ('Rock 'n' Roll All Night'), 80s ('Crazy Crazy Nights') and 90s ('God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You'). Tellingly, no recent material has enjoyed the same iconic anthem status.

They sound amazing, look bonkers and put all the bombastic fun back into rock 'n' roll.

The Starchild (Paul Stanley), The Demon (Gene Simmons), The Spaceman (Tommy Thayer) and the Catman (Eric Singer) strut their stuff, rolling their tongues and generally behaving how a gloriously dumb rock band should.

Sometimes, they even manage to make AC/DC look and sound cerebral. It's fine for Kiss to resort to cliches, as, lest we forget, they pretty much defined them.

Gene Simmons has a habit of talking too much. That would be fine if he'd anything funny or interesting to say, but his onstage patter is restricted to banal platitudes that begin or end by bellowing, "Dublin!" The only other minor complaint from a thrilling and terrific show is that, at times, it really should be slightly louder. The architects of pomp rock deserve to be turned up to eleven.