It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since The Kills blew into our lives with the raw, garage blues of the “Black Rooster” EP, but alas there they were Saturday night, playing a sold out show at Terminal 5 before an adoring, rock-hungry audience.
After two ample opening sets by Hunters and JEFF the Brotherhood, The Kills took the stage at 10:30, after the audience gave the group a hearty singing of “Happy Birthday to You,” for the band. Jamie Hince and Allison Mosshart, both in their usual badass threads, walked out on stage to a vigoursly excited audience. Hince, decked out in a leather jacket and his general ‘don’t-give-a-fuck’ scowl, and Mosshart, beautiful as ever, smiling as brightly as her newly dyed cotton candy hair, a loosely worn striped blouse hanging over her trademark black jeans.
While Hince often gives off an impression of a tough as nails art rocker when idle, ripping into his guitar he transforms visually, a smirk often adorned on his face while he pounds away on each song. Mosshart’s dynamic seems to work in the exact opposite fashion, her gleaming face tightening into an angry and pouty sneer as her vocals teeter back and forth from pleading to howling exasperation. Occasionally wielding a guitar, or in the case of “Pots and Pans,” smacking a tom drum, Mosshart is a fiery vocalist, with a raw and tough sexual energy often not exuded by any artists today, male or female (Robert Plant tends to come to mind when thinking of other singers who attack the vocals with Mosshart’s passion).
Opening as usual with the tense groover, “No Wow,” Hince’s guitar sounds like a revving motor, with each broad stroke of the guitar reverberating through the venue like a growl. For the first portion of the show, the duo were joined by four drummers, all donned with handerchiefs guarding their faces, appearing like highway robbers. Broken off into pairs on the two sides of the stage, the percussionists would alternate between beats and brandishing the drumsticks in X’s across their faces. After a fiery rendition of “Heart is a Beating Drum,” the drummers dispersed while a playback beat came in for the bluesy crawl of “Kissy Kissy,” before returning later during “At the Back of the Shell.” The band played a whopping nine tracks from their latest record, “Blood Pressures,” all with vigorous gusto, clearly still having a ball with the new material, but it was most interesting hearing them rip through the material from “Midnight Boom,” replacing XXXChange’s electroclash elements with hard hitting drums and raucous guitar on album highlights, “Tape Song,” and “Cheap and Cheerful.”
The best part of the show was in its encore, which opened with “The Last Goodbye,” which featured Hince playing a warbled keyboard while Mosshart sang a gorgeously resigned vocal. The band then kicked it out with a set of some of their best rockers, including “Sour Cherry,” and early single, and fan favorite, “Fuck the People.” Closing it out with the gritty but optimistic ballad, “Monkey 23,” the band gracefully took their bows. While Mosshart sang words that night vowing to rely no more on a “dime-a-day, half-hearted love,” that has clearly never been the case with The Kills, and although they have a hearty ten years behind them, they hopefully won’t be singing their last goodbye anytime soon.