There may not be ‘no wow’ no more, but there certainly is a hell of a show. Last Friday, The Kills, in support of their fourth album Blood Pressures, gave the audience of the Royale Boston an unforgettable night.
Hunters, a 4-piece indie rock group from Brooklyn, NY, started off the night right. They almost felt like a throwback to original punk, having a lead guitarist reminiscent of Sid Vicious and a lead singer resembling a young Debby Harry. Their music was impressive; they sounded like a punkier Sonic Youth, or if the Vaccines sung less about winning girls’ hearts and more about breaking them.
Next up was Jeff the Brotherhood. This band was two brothers, Jake and Jamin Orall, from Nashville, TN playing a few of their Dinosaur Jr.-esque garage rock tunes. Aside from their music, they were also pretty funny. At one point, both members had to pee so badly that the drummer just got up and went backstage. His brother’s response? “I’ll do this one solo”.
And then there were the Kills. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince descended to the stage as the audience nearly exploded in excitement. They proceeded to play through a 15-song set and a 4-song encore with incredible energy and precision. What really won me over though was how theatrical they managed to make their show. Prince probably demonstrated best how a great concert isn’t only about audial pleasure, but visual pleasure as well (for those of you who haven’t seen the “Let’s go Crazy” scene from Purple Rain, I advise you to change that). Behind the duo were two anonymous drummers, with handkerchiefs over their mouths like bandits, playing along in a similar style as the guys from Blue Man Group. Lighting tricks by the engineers even got their drumsticks to appear different colors, so as to make the show look even more impressive. In addition, during the middle of the set, two Motown-era back-up dancers came out and sang along with Mosshart, slightly swaying to the beat.
The real attraction though was Mosshart herself. Through every song, she was a whirlwind of sex, glamour, and mystery. The way her eyes would stare out at the crowd was enough to make the floor shake. She and Hince thundered through all of the Kills’ big hits, including “No Wow”, “Future Starts Slow”, “Tape Song”, “Black Balloon”, “Cheap and Cheerful”, “Sour Cherry”, and “F*** the People”. They even managed to do a cover: Patsy Cline’s country hit, “Crazy”. They certainly did Cline justice, and surprised the fans with a tune many may not have ever heard. Hince said little aside from his singing, but at one point he managed to say, “Good luck in the Super Duper Bowl”, to which the audience responded enthusiastically.
By about 9:30, the band finished playing and wished the audience a good night. The massive crowd managed to make it toward the coat checks and exits without too much confusion. Some people (including this writer) managed to lose their voice and much of their hearing during the show. But the one thing everyone left with was a great smile on their face, and a memory they will not soon forget. The Kills were at the top of their game, and many of us will be stalking Ticketmaster until they’re scheduled to play in Boston again.