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between a roux and a bechamel

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Rock Report

The Kills
Black Cat

Went into the show a bit trepidatious. The music I'd listened to beforehand was a little more rough/screamo/punk/harder than I usually get on with, however, it had its merits and hell, we already had the tickets, so I went in with a positive mindset. After the horribly awful show from last week, Liz and I decided to take our time making our way up there. We got there while The Routineers were playing. Wow, so bad. The instruments were sloppy, the vocals were femme nazzi screamy, the overall tone was unpollished 90s disaffected youth. Thumbs down. Scout Niblett followed. Once again, way 90s (up to and including Courtney Love style bleached out hair and baby doll dress), however, a vast improvement upon the first band. They had this whole dichotemy angle of dissonant instrumentals and baby-voiced vocals. Sometimes they got it really right, and sometimes they didn't quite make it. Alright, at this point we're getting a little nervous. But hey, the crowd's filling in, we've both read heaps of praise for The Kills (particularly regarding live performance), so ok, let's bear with it here. First notes had us wondering if perhaps we were a little too far past solemn teenager moodiness to enjoy this kind of show. The heroine chic couple next to us who literally stood in the same spot the entire night and never once changed their facial expressions or postures were the stark comparisson that made us question how right we were to be there. But then, they really got started. While it's still not the type of music I would listen to every day, this was one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. The lead singer - VV - is one of the most charismatic performers I've ever witnessed. Her magnetism is present when she's standing still and giving a religiosity to her vocals, or when she's twitching uncontrolably to the guitars of Hotel (her band mate) and giving the most kinetic and electric show I've ever witnessed. She's model beautiful, but you can only tell that in the moments when she's flailing and her midnight colored hair moves out of her face. She interacts with the microphone in a way that would make her boyfriend jealous. The two had a tangible chemistry that was really extroridnary. They'd move up towards each other as they played/sang, and had this sort of rhythmic approach dance, it was pretty incredible.

Here's some of what had to say about them, background style:

London, Brixton Academy, October 29, 2004. Two figures, under dim lights, which obscure more than illuminate. One, his jacket zippered up to his chin, eyes glaring headlight-style at the distant balcony, slashes and twitches in time to the rhythm of his guitar riffs. The other, her raven hair matted over her face, sways and thrashes along, incanting into her microphone the sweetest seduction one moment, then untethered rage the next.

This Anglo-American duo force you to engage deeply in their music. Where most contemporary groups hit you with an elaborately orchestrated reading of a song, Kills reduce rock & roll to its barest components.

The Kills, VV and Hotel, have a special relationship. You don't see chemistry like this on a stage every day of the week. They met five or six years ago in South London, while VV, née Alison Mosshart, was on tour in Europe with her band at the time, Discount. Hotel, then known as merely Jamie Hince, had just wound up his group Scarfo and was just knocking around a few solo ideas. Before Alison returned home to Florida, they exchanged numbers. They corresponded, sending each other letters, tapes and occasionally splashing out on a pricey international call.

At the turn of the millennium, Alison moved in with Jamie in his flat in Gypsy Hill, London. They gave each other a stage name, and The Kills were born. In many ways, The Kills had been born the very day when they met. The band was an expression of everything they experienced together, a document of them. They were entirely self-sufficient. While Alison did most of the singing, Jamie did most of the guitar. He also learned to drum and lay down some backing beats on tape. What else did they need? Anyone else would be an intruder.


Blogger Blogs t r e t c h said...

As I was writing that, I thought "wow, I sound totally gay." I thought maybe it'll just come across as really appreciating the performance, which is all I was trying to convey. But, apparently, nope:

ike spivey: sounds like you really want a piece of that singer

So, let me iterate (not reiterate, as I didn't say it before): No crush on VV, sexual or non. She just rocked. Moral of the story: go see The Kills if you get The Chance.

9:36 AM  

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