Kiss – ‘Kiss’ (1974) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

On February 18, 1974, the world received their first Kiss album, simply called ‘Kiss’.  But not many people took notice. It only sold around 70,000 copies at the time and quickly faded into existence.  But hold on, before we get in to the album, let’s go back to the first Kiss show one year earlier on January 30th, 1973.  For that show, the band didn’t really wear any make-up.  They had their name, but were just setting out and didn’t know who they were yet. They had the drag/glam look going for them, but the make-up progressed rather quickly.  Each member was discovering their personalities….The Demon (Gene), The Starchild (Paul), The Spaceman (Ace) and the Catman (Peter).  Over the next year, they would settle on who they were and so much more.  And who were they?  They were the following:

  • Paul Stanley – The Starchild
  • Gene Simmons – The Demon
  • Ace Frehley – The Spaceman
  • Peter Criss – The Catman

In early March, the band would finally decide on the make-up, then about a week later, they entered The Daisy in Amityville, NY with famed Led Zeppelin producer and recorded a five song demo.  The same 5 songs we talked about briefly on the Wicked Lester demo album from last week.

Then shortly after that, they were doing a showcase in the Summer and they meet a lad named Bill Aucoin who would become their manager and change their life forever.  But before they signed with Bill, they said he had 2 weeks to get them a record deal.  Not much time for anyone, but for Bill, he made it work.  The band would be the first band to sign with Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Record label on November 1st, 1973.  Quite a busy year.  And yes, I skipped so much, but this isn’t a history lesson, this is an album review.  So why don’t we get to that part now.

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Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast – Plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

On April 1st, 1974, Kiss played at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio.  It was broadcast live on the radio and we have that show captured right here on another in the Bootleg Series.  This is probably one of the most famous of the bootlegs and one the band seems to like as well.

Kiss was signed only 6 months earlier on November 1st, 1973 to Casablanca records and Casablanca was heavily promoting them and this bootleg contains 3 such promotions.  The Agora Ballroom show, 3 songs from the ABC In Concert performance from March 29th, 1974 and their appearance on the Mike Douglas Show on April 29th, 1974.  It is Kiss at their infancy.

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The recording is from a broadcast and it is sounds really great.  Now do remember that this is a bootleg and so the sound isn’t perfect, but I think it is a true representation of the band’s live show and how cool to have such an early show. The sound is a little flat as the bass is a little understated (okay, a lot understated) and only one strong guitar sound (Ace).  The guys are eager, they are hungry and they are tearing it up.  There are no explosions, no one is breathing fire, it is straight up Rock & Roll. Well, there is the siren for “Firehouse”, but that is it.

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Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are up to the fifth album in the Bootleg series and we are still on the albums I found in Paris back in April.  And since it is July 4th, I thought what is more American than July 4th…well KISS!!!

This was was from September 14, 1974 on the Hotter Than Hell Tour and it was recorded at The Victory Burlesque in Toronto, ON, Canada.  This was actually a warm-up show for the tour, one of two nights (not sure which one).  This was also about a month before the Hotter Than Hell album came out.

As usual, before we get into the music we will talk about the packaging and what was offered with this set.  First off, this was a single LP and not a double like all the others as this was only a 9 song set as you have to remember this was only 1974 and Kiss hadn’t been around very long with only 2 album to choose from at this point.  The packaging was quite simple.  The front (as seen above) is a very early shot of the band before all the glitz and glamour.  The back is a great shot of the band on stage (what show, I do not know for sure…we will assume this one, but I am sure it is not).

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The vinyl sleeve is a nice solid cardboard sleeve that is very sturdy and has more great pictures.

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