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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 13, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 19
The Kills play explosive set
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The Kills play explosive set

by Jessica Price - SGN Contributing Writer

The Kills
May 9
The Showbox at the Market


The Kills are the hottest thing going in electrified dirty blues rock these days, and they rule the universe as an army of two. The sold-out crowd at Neumos didn't need to be convinced; young girls were shrieking (yes, shrieking) and the general feeling was wall-to-wall rock diva worship from every last soul in the room.

Alison Mosshart is an interesting study in women who rock. Having cut her chops with The Kills, she's also one quarter of supergroup The Dead Weather (alongside Jack White) and has guest starred on songs by Primal Scream and Placebo. She has credibility for miles, a gigantic voice that can shake rafters or nail a sorrowful saloon-style piano ballad, and pitches around in gauzy shirts and black jeans like a lost member of Led Zeppelin. One can only hope in a few years she won't brush that wild, dark hair out of her face and start posing in haute couture a la Courtney Love in the late '90s. Mosshart is much better at simply fronting a mind-bendingly cool band; exuding modesty and approachability even as she plays along with guitarist/vocalist Jamie Hince's every strut and holler.

And there was a whole lot of strutting and hollering going on at The Showbox from the moment The Kills started 'No Wow' from their second album - a slinky lead-in to an explosive set. 'Future Starts Now' and 'Heart Is a Beating Drum' from their new album Blood Pressures followed, as well as 'DNA' and the hit single 'Satellite.' On the surface, Blood Pressures sounds more polished and flat than their beautifully frenetic last album, Midnight Boom; in person, The Kills breathed new life into 'You Don't Own the Road,' 'Baby Says,' and 'Pots and Pans.' All four albums - varied in style and influence - feel continuous and focused in person. Thumping, garage-heavy blues ties their entire body of work together, whether it's a beat-laden dance track or a straight-up sonic assault. Generous attention was paid to Midnight Boom with 'U.R.A. Fever,' 'Tape Song,' and 'Sour Cherry,' further increasing the furor of the audience while Jamie Hince stalked the edge of the stage making eye contact and wrenching savage sounds from his guitar. The duo reached back to Keep On Your Mean Side with 'Pull A U,' and 'The Last Goodbye' served as the single encore's first song, as well as the first and only slowed down moment of the evening.

Although in their early days it was rumored that The Kills declined major label deals and eschewed everything typical of a hip rock band, as it turns out they've effortlessly landed at the top of the list of the 'cooler than cool.' (Hince will reportedly marry girlfriend Kate Moss in July; Mosshart has an acclaimed second album with The Dead Weather, and apparently, legions of worshippers.) The Kills have reached a high, combining mass outlaw appeal with critical acclaim by a very simple formula - white-hot songs coupled with palpable chemistry. It certainly doesn't hurt that they're talented, endearingly modest, and their live shows are incendiary full frontal rock assaults. Long live The Kills.

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