review: the kills @ webster hall - 5.2.09
    • THURSDAY, MAY 07, 2009

    • Posted by:

    photos by Chris Gayomali. See more photos HERE.

    Alison Mosshart of the Kills exhudes so much sex appeal it's indecent. That night, she took the stage unassumingly, donning a combo of skinny jeans and a simple, white dotted blouse with her head held low. She took periodic swigs from a water bottle and averted the spotlight as if to purse, "Not yet, guys. Give me a second." But, as the Kills' other half (guitarist Jamie Hince) trotted up and began strumming at his first, bluesy notes, I couldn't help but get the feeling that what I was about to witness would be something entirely different from what was in front of me. Something real dark and seductive-- something almost visceral bordering on burlesque. And for the life of me, I was right. By the time they were ready and Alison had ascended her rightful place at the microphone, the water bottle had been tossed aside. Black hair flailing, she tore into her first words with a smoky, sultry laissez faire, as she was daring anyone in crowd to even think of taking their eyes off of her.

    There were two brothers standing in front of me, with the elder one looking like he couldn't have been older no older than 17. I'd gotten to the show late, and The Horrors had finished their opener. The PA system trolled through a couple of background songs and eventually landed on The Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs." I couldn't help but listen in on the the brothers' conversation.

    "Do you know who this is?" beamed the elder one.
    "No, who?"
    "The Velvet Underground, man. They're like, New York."

    I butted in.

    "You guys aren't from here, huh?"
    "Naw, we came all the way from Connecticut."
    "Who are you guys here to see?"

    The younger one turned to me excitedly.
    "Oh man. The Kills!"

    "How were The Horrors?"
    I'd seen The Horrors two years ago in Hollywood. They'd put on an amazing set (from what I remembered).

    "Ah. They weren't that good. They played alot of songs I never even heard before."
    "But they looked cool."

    I was at a loss for words. Luckily, at that moment the lights got dark and The Kills began making their way on stage.

    It didn't really hit me until after the lights turned on and the Webster Hall crowd began dispering, but something about The Kills' performance that night was dead on. I was mesmerized. While most bands mime rock and roll from the outside-in, The Kills look and play the part from from the inside-out. They played a few old songs (the scathingly anthemic "Fuck the People") and some newer, poppier ones (the crowd pleasing dance track "U R A Fever" off their 2007 album), but their setlist of electro-blues almost didn't matter as much as the ethos they left dripping on the stage that night. The thing is you can't really fake rock and roll-- you can maybe get away faking it initially, but fans eventually see through charades and eventually admonish you. While the Kills may only be two people playing blues with a drum machine, they are the real, honest deal. They showed sex and sweat and dirt and grit, but none of that surface stuff really matters unless what you're doing is believable-- unless what you're doing is real. The Kills demonstrated into the New York night that they're just that, and that there's nothing in rock and roll more sought after, let alone anything more magnetic and commanding. - chris gayomali

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    The Kills on Myspace

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