The Kills make me think of carnal pleasures and death. They’re about living fast, living hard and saying the last goodbye without regret or hope. Bands that actually live fast and hard die young. The Kills are 18 years in, in their expanded-band-in-a-theater phase. The Kills are not their songs.
Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are cool musicians. They look cool. They dress cool. They make cool music. When I think of them, I do not think of theaters. I think of dark clubs and dark bars and much seedier locations. Seeing them in such a nice space like The Lincoln Theatre wasn’t bad, just different.
The Kills are currently touring as a 4-piece. After seeing the band as a 2-piece as part of a large music festival, a theater show with a fuller sound was almost like seeing a different band. Almost.
They’re still using programmed drum tracks for certain songs. Hince still plays simple, tight, catchy lead guitar on multiple hard-to-find guitars. Most importantly, Mosshart still sounds great. The sound still plays loose and free with the reverb, but it’s not needed. If you were close to the stage on Monday, you could hear her without the mic. She’s in key. She sounds great.
And she dances great. Mosshart dances like Mick Jagger, which absolutely works for The Kills and is most often off-putting.
Monday’s concert kicked off their 2018 tour and they appeared happy to be back on stage. There’s no real reason for the tour, other than their current single. It’s an interpretation of Saul Williams’ “List of Demands (Reparations)”. It’s not bad. Considering the song is titled “List of Demand (Reparations)” and The Kills are not Saul Williams, not bad is as good as it’s going to get.
The Kills may be in their theater phase but they’re still captivating live. Their tight 60 minute set was followed by a smart just under 30 minute encore. For nearly 90 minutes, no one used their seat.
They’re still buy-a-t-shirt good (it’s always weird to buy a shirt of band whose members would never wear a band shirt because they’re way too cool). They’re still let’s-start-a-band good.
*The line from The Kills to Williams is through Trent Reznor and David Lynch. The Kills’ last show before Monday was in 2017 at Lynch’s Festival of Disruption. Reznor And Lynch have collaborated many times, most recent for Twin Peaks: The Return. Reznor is a frequent Williams collaborator, most recently on 2007’s The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!