Although The Kills have been around for eight years, one may feel like the band has finally arrived. Fresh off the release of their fourth studio album “Blood Pressures,” The Kills are on tour to spread their garage rock revival to the nation.
Last Sunday, the band performed at the 9:30 Club among a raucous crowd.
The Kills is made up of wicked twosome, Alison Mosshart (known as ‘VV’) and Jamie Hince (known as ‘Hotel’), and a third member–a delightful drum machine that just won’t quit. While known for their scuzzy, wide-eyed rock filled with innocuous, yet mocking lyrics, the Kills have garnered quite a dedicated group of followers.
This may be, in part, due to their intriguing life outside the band. Hince is engaged to fashion’s favorite muse and style icon, Kate Moss. Mosshart sings for The Dead Weather, a blues-rock band comprised of some of the music industry’s greatest talents, White Stripes’ Jack White, Raconteurs’ Jack Lawrence, and Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita.
Two bands opened for The Kills–the relatively unknown psychedelic rockers Entrance Band, and futuristic synth pop stars, Cold Cave.
The Entrance Band is made up of Guy Blakeslee on lead vocals and guitar, Paz Lenchantin on bass, and Derek James on drums. As a trio, Entrance Band played as if they were in their own world, which could only be described as something incredibly groovy. Blakeslee often kept his back to the audience while shredding his guitar, and towards the end, used a pocketknife that seemingly came out of nowhere to play it. Also mesmerizing was Lenchantin, with her straggly long hair, a rose tied to the top of her bass, and ‘60s girl group dance moves. Together, Entrance Band played retro stoner rock tunes like those of “Grim Reaper Blues” and “Silence on a Crowded Train.”
Cold Cave, by contrast, was major departure from the psychedelic sounds of Entrance Band. Comprised of Wes Eisold on lead vocals, Dominick Fernow on keyboard, and Guy Licata on drums, the three men wore black and played synth laden pop melodies, that were simultaneously futuristic and a throwback to the ‘80s. They played songs off their new album “Cherish the Light Years,” such as “Confetti” and “Catacombs.”
Then The Kills took the stage.
Expressing uncharacteristically wide grins, Mosshart and Hince launched into fan favorite, “No Wow.” While watching Mosshart onstage, one can understand why she is one of the most talked about female rock performers.
Wearing a navy blue collared shirt, skintight jeans and her signature boots, she purrs and howls into the mic and stalks around the stage, ruffling her sweaty and silken black hair. Hince, the militaristic counterpart to Mosshart, often chose to stand in place, and electrified the crowd with his guitar and dead stares into the audience.
The Kills have played together for so long that, oftentimes, when they looked at each other, it appeared as though they were sharing an inside joke. Mosshart would flash an impish grin, while Hince pointed his guitar at her like a machine gun.
The next few songs were from the new album, “Blood Pressures,” which were quite a progression from the band’s earlier, and more basic, garage rock sound. There was “Future Starts Slow,” a riff heavy number, and “Heart Is a Beating Drum” and “DNA” where Hince and Mosshart shared vocals. They also played the reggae-tinged lead single, “Satellite,” a song that deviates from their traditional rock focus.
However, the most electrifying moment of the night was when the Kills played “U.R.A. Fever,” one of their more popular songs from the album. U.R.A Fever captures the essence of the Kills’ sound and sinister garage rock tone, with nonsensical lyrics, like “Everyone’s a winner/Laughing like a seagull/You are a fever/You ain’t born typical.” The song is filled with Hince’s raw guitar licks and proves outright that some songs are better live.
The Kills’ show had some surprisingly tender moments. Among them was in the slow and heartbreaking ballad, “The Last Goodbye,” in which Mosshart simply stood and sang, while baring her soul. Moments of quiet in the song were interrupted by audience screams, as Mosshart stood dangerously close to the edge of the stage, where she wiped her hair from her face, looking afar, and mesmerized by the song’s message of lost love. At the end, she walked towards Hince, leaned forward for him to kiss her gently on the forehead. Rehearsed or not, it was a sweet moment in a show that was filled with aggressive rock.
The show wrapped up with the sizzling “Fried My Little Brains,” a song from their first album, “Keep on Your Mean Side.” If this show is any indication of what is to come, it is clear that the Kills have more staying power than even they possibly anticipated.