The Kills


High on my list of bands to see, The Kills caught my attention six years ago on a TV broadcast of Fashion Rocks. The duo of Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart played the minimal and raw ‘No Wow’ as models paraded around the stage. As a darker version of The White Stripes, they instantly appealed to me.

Mosshart later joined Jack White in The Dead Weather for a couple of albums before The Kills reunited with their latest album ‘Blood Pressures’ produced by Jack, with a fuller and richer sound.

The Methodist Hall is sold out tonight. The same venue where I saw The Walkmen is, strangely, ideal for blues-rock. The support act S.C.U.M are another Joy Division/Interpol 80’s tribute band, with frontman Thomas Cohen cutting a figure like a young, tentative Nick Cave. His flamboyant hand gestures and cheap suit make more noise than his drowned out vocals as he seemingly toys with an imaginary stringed puppet. The drummer Melissa Rigby draws all the attention, despite Tom’s attempts to captivate.

After the DJ has teased the crowd by playing another filler tune… and then another… the lights drop and The Kills silhouettes stroll out confidently in front of a leopard skin backdrop.

They start with ‘No Wow’, the grating drum loop pounds out a stuttered heartbeat before we hear her silky vocal and his distorted guitar. Mosshart is mesmerising. She hides behind her long black hair for the punky tunes and exposes her emotional face during the ballads. She owns the stage with slinky and cool dance moves, combined with playful ‘come here’ gestures to guitarist Jamie, before snubbing his advances and spitting on the floor.

Drumbeats are programmed with the second guitarist hiding stage left, leaving the duo alone to enact their ‘do they don’t they?’ stage routine. Heads in the crowd bob and eyes are transfixed; the lightshow enhances each tune and punctuates the choreography perfectly.

‘Future Starts Slow’ is next, making an impact as when opening the latest album. They maintain the high tempo before the bluesy ‘Kissy Kissy’ and the plodding groove of ‘U.R.A Fever’. Personal favourite ‘Baby Says’ meets my expectations, with Alison playing keys during one of their more understated songs.

‘Sour Cherry’ is the highlight though, the stomping rhythm builds to a frenzy before they disappear, leaving the lyrics “go home its over” ringing in our ears. The crowd ignore the instruction, chanting for more until rewarded for their persistence. ‘Last Goodbye’ silences the crowd from start to finish as Jamie smokes a cigarette.

‘Pots and Pans’ brings back the blues and builds momentum once more, before ‘Fried My Little Brains’ clanks and clunks towards an abrupt end which is met by ecstatic applause.

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Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.