Monday, May 9
Showbox at the Market
Last night, at a sold-out Showbox , the Kills' female half, Alison Mosshart, made>"/>
Last night, at a sold-out Showbox, the Kills' female half, Alison Mosshart, made for an arresting figure. Her silhouette glowed purple in the stage lights, her leopard-print shirt blurred into the giant leopard-print backdrop behind her, and her mane of dark hair obscured her face, The Ring-style, as she slowly spun on her heels and strummed her guitar. Mosshart doesn't sing so much as snarl, and when she spits out "I am a fever/I am a fever/I ain't born typical," the entire crowd chants along with her.
Check out a slideshow from The Kills' show.
The Kills' music, based on Jamie Hince's crunching, violent guitar licks and the clanking programmed drum beats, is industrial, metallic, steely. What brings it all to life--what makes the band's formula of hard-edged rock and deep-feeling blues work so well--is Mosshart: her muggy vocals, her swirling, aggressive movements, her bold sense of command as a performer. It's difficult to take your eyes off of her.
That's not to say Hince was overshadowed, though. What makes he and Mosshart a perfect rock-and-roll pairing is that he's got the exact same sense of domineering presence. Hince strutted to the front of the stage and played to the crowd--striking his guitar strings with his fist, staring into the audience until you swore he was making eye contact with you. He was also the one flirting with the crowd:
"You ever get to New York?" he asked at one point. "It's got nothing on Seattle."
Hince and Mosshart played a judicious mixture of old and new Kills material, to two different effects. They introduced and performed their newest songs, off this year's excellent Blood Pressures, like they were meant to impress--one of their first numbers, "Heart Is a Beating Drum," was also one of their most wildly emphatic; an encore, the melancholy "The Last Goodbye" showcased Mosshart at her most delicate and vulnerable. The Blood Pressures material came off beautifully. But it still needs time to settle--songs from the band's previous albums resonated in a livelier way with the audience; you could feel a thread of excitement run through the crowd when Hince and Mosshart broke into the tension-building "Tape Song" and the closer, "Sour Cherry," which had Hince jolting epileptically as he sang lead.
Enough can't be said about Hince and Mosshart's congruity as a duo. Hince didn't flinch when Mosshart whipped her hair in his face; during "Kissy Kissy," they moved their mikes to face each other but ended up frequently sharing the same mike, their faces so close their lips almost touched. Onstage, Hince and Mosshart actually come off more as good pals than lovers, but the Kills' music is all about sexual tension and sexual fervor, and the electricity between the two is plainly there. Mosshart might be the hottest little spitfire of a female in rock-and-roll right now. Whoever Hince's girlfriend is must be really secure in herself to be OK with him cavorting around with a woman like that night after night.
Future Starts Slow
Heart Is a Beating Drum
You Don't Love Me (No No No) [Dawn Penn cover]
Pull a U
You Don't Own the Road
The Last Goodbye
Pots and Pans
Fried My Little Brains