February 26, 2024

The Kills played Webster Hall (Night 1)

Halfway through their latest U.S. tour in support of last year's record God Games, The Kills arrived at New York City's Webster Hall for their first of two back-to-back shows.

For over two decades, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince have been making blues-inspired rock tracks that dabble in glam, grunge, and garage with a bit of synths thrown into the mix as well. On the surface it seems like so many things, but when you get right down to it, it's maximum rock and roll through and through. For a duo that mainly relies on shredding guitar and a drum machine, their ability to broadcast their sound with such power and scope is something they've crafted into fine form over the years and as they took to the stage in front of a sold-out crowd on Monday evening, they were set to prove that the past twenty years have led to this moment and their ability to strike a blaze remains firmly intact. Leather jackets, biker boots, and some occasional leopard print was the attire of desire for the evening and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the room under the impression that skinny jeans are out, Mosshart and Hince also fully committed to their effortlessly cool style as yell, decked out in black with their endless swagger dripping from the stage. Whipping her hair like a rag doll, Alison paraded around the stage with endless head bangs, giving in to the rhythm of each song and losing herself to the tunes just before she'd grab the mic to deliver the next lyric. Bursts of noise-pop were charged-up moments of the night and Jamie's guitar was sounding extra-loud and revved-up for the occasion, hitting scorching blasts of power riffs to kick-off each song as endless drum loops helped keep things in place as the their blown-out fuzz filled the room. While their set-up is minimal, again the band limits themselves to at most two guitars, a mellotron, a ton of pedals, and a drum machine, the band's sound is maximal and the contrast is what helps make their show so compelling. Mosshart drives the attention through her huntress-like stage demeanor and Hince pumps up the volume with his shrapnel-esque guitar clangs to give the band a mighty presence which they own with such vigor and confidence, imposing like the rock stars they are and making sure everyone in the room is feeding off the energy the band has harnessed from the crowd. Pounding his instrument with a closed fist and then flicking his strings with open fingers, Hince added subtle textures to really enhance the metallic sounds that rang out from his axe, setting the tone for Mosshart to deliver her smokey howl. The setlist stuck primarily to last year's God Games, but there were old favorites, like starting the night with "Kissy Kissy" and "U.R.A. Fever" before adding in "Baby Says" rather early on that got the crowd to really come alive, but there was something special about hearing the new tune "New York" played in front of its namesake crowd. "Doing it to Death" and "Future Starts Slow" were other big hits that got a massive cheer from the crowd (and having some extra back-up singers really was a nice touch too), but when they ended the night with "Sour Cherry," it was clear that this was one that fans had desperately wanted to hear. Rock and roll was in high fashion on this Monday night and no one was looking cooler doing it than the Kills, reminding us all that no matter what, rock has stood the test of time and no matter what else comes our way, relying on something so indestructible has never felt more right.

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