A Date with The Kills – May 25, 2008

The Kills played the House of Blues in Dallas, this last Sunday May 25th and we were there for it all.

Click below for video and a full concert review.

Touring in support of their latest release, Midnight Boom, The Kills hit the House of Blues’ Cambridge Room this past Sunday and gave us a night of chills and thrills, with a set that was altogether inspired, intense and drenched in sexual energy. The smoke infused stage, an elaborate, trippy light show complete with enough effects to throw you into a seizure and the background visuals added to the show’s mystique. Add their trademark sex and drug-laden garage sound and The Kills had all the elements of a true artsy, neo-punk band that were poised to blow us all away. And did they deliver.

Half an hour late, supporting act, Dax Riggs opened the show in what seemed like a desperately last-minute gig. Riggs, better known for his previous band, Deadboy and the Elephantmen, played a solid, although unremarkable 25-minute set, which showcased several new songs and cuts from his new solo album “We Sing of Only Blood or Love“. With a special rendition of “Demon Tied to a Chair”, Riggs, a rather shy yet gifted vocalist, proved to be a resourceful opening act, having ripped right into the set 10 minutes after setting up and without a proper sound check.

Dax Riggs performs at the House of Blues Dallas, May 25, 2008

Admittedly, it was a little hard to see Riggs in the process of starting over, after Deadboy’s 2006 critically acclaimed debut, We are Night Sky. Deadboy disbanded around April last year and Riggs has gone solo (and setting up on his own) ever since.

That being said, sound was an issue at times and a surprising one, given HOB’s long-standing venue for major acts. Feedback and monitor issues flared up occasionally. Luckily, it didn’t take away too much from the gig.

Another downside we ran into was actually waiting for The Kills. After Dax Riggs’ set, we had to wait an hour for The Kills to hit the stage. Apparently, more technical issues came up with the mike and Kills guitarist Jamie “Hotel” Hince’s guitar levels were off.

But it was well worth the wait.

It’s a great thing to see one of your favorite bands play live, but it is a very different thing when you find yourself in a concert and you realize you are witnessing something special.

Hince and partner-in-crime, Allison “VV” Mosshart, took to the stage around 10pm to a roaring crowd and launched into a stunningly raw interpretation of “U.R.A. Fever”. Behind them, a large projection screen flashes concert scenes of Fugazi, The Stooges, and the N.Y. greats,The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith and the Velvet Underground – a suitable and thrilling visual for a band that not only pays homage to them, but liberally modernizes the musical elements these bands pioneered.

The Kills perform “Pull A U” at the House of Blues Dallas May 25, 2008

 

Claiming the stage as her own, I was immediately transfixed by Mosshart, this sexual banshee who is channeling the raw power of Patti Smith in her heyday with a lush sensuality that is genuinely her own. Swaying her jet-black hair from the stage into the crowd, she teases and plays with us. Mosshart looks like she is at the brink of climax as she feeds off the crowd’s energy and Hotel’s guitar antics as they rip through a melee of their heavily narcotized scuzzed-out garage blues.

Hotel who looks like an Iggy Pop love child, makes love to the crowd with his guitar; thrusting the bridge deep out into the hoard of thunderous fans as he strangles the chords and slashes his way through an extended version of “No Wow” and a fresh rendition of the band’s classic “Fried My Little Brains”. Soaked in noise and deliberate feedback, Hotel isn’t just soloing, he’s singing made-up lyrics that match the riffing sounds frenetically emerging from a guitar that looks like its about to fall apart.

A half hour into the show and the band looks fresh and eager. Their chemistry is unquestionable. To the untrained eye, anyone would easily believe there is more to The Kills than a musical partnership and a long-standing friendship. And understandably so. As the band roars through new ravers like “Cheap and Cheerful”, “Last Day of Magic” and “What New York Used To Be”, it seems as if they are seconds away from ripping each other’s clothes off. According to British tabloids, Hotel has been dating Kate Moss and rumors of marriage are in the air. Mosshart has been repeatedly linked to The Mighty Boosh comedy star, Noel FlemingThe Kills have always maintained theirs is a strictly platonic relationship highlighted by an intense and mutual admiration. On stage, however, it’s pretty amazing to watch how much they enjoy each other.

Close to an hour and a half, The Kills quickly break after outstanding renditions of “Alphabet Pony”, “Wait” and a stripped down “Goodnight Bad Morning.”

After playing most of Midnight Boom, the band came back for a 3-song encore that included “Love is a Deserter”, “Kissy, Kissy”, and a powerful performance of “Sugar Baby” that saw Hotel almost bust his guitar into pieces.

The Kills have been always been completely misunderstood, with 5 out of 6 critics pigeonholing them as a low-end White Stripes with an unhealthy Velvet Underground obsession. With Midnight Boom, The Kills have proven that not only are they in a stronger musically expansive state, but that they are one of the most impossibly cool and dangerously sexy acts in rock ‘n’ roll today.

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