Live Review: The Kills @ Black Cat, May 2

The Kills blew into town this past weekend for I believe their second ever gig at the Black Cat (at least, it was my second time seeing them there), and I have to say, they’ve greatly improved their stage presence from that first time a few years back. Alison “VV” Mosshart and Jamie “Hotel” Hince have come a long way since then, really learning how to own the stage and make their presence felt. They gyrated, grinded and went through most of the other necessary punk posturing that the crowd seemed to love, at least at first (more on that later).

While I was ever so slightly miffed that the show started a half hour later than the Cat claimed it would, once those two ragamuffins took the stage, all was forgiven. Performing against a backdrop of simply weird videos, they kicked off the show with their latest single, URA Fever, from the new album, Midnight Boom. They played liberally from all three of their ablums, but the audience obviously was happiest when tunes from their debut, Keep On Your Mean Side, were played. I’d wager “Kissy Kissy” was the crowd favorite, though “Fried My Little Brain” seemed a close second.

The show seemed overly long to the audience, however, as there was a noticeable filtering towards the door as the evening waned. Perhaps the overwhelming guitar pyrotechnics wore thin on some folks. It’s funny, Hotel took time to tune his guitar between each song, which seemed somewhat pointless, as his finger work seemed intent on banging and shredding, not playing anything resembling scales or the like. It also would have been nice for a bit of audience interaction, particularly with the frequent pauses between songs. While there were a few “thank yous” here and there, the only true audience interaction occurred near the very end of the set when Hince commented on people not being allowed to smoke and do other bad things in bars anymore.

Two other things I’d like to comment upon before I close. When the hell did 80s fashion make such a strong come back? Well over half the audience looked like they had raided my high school class’ wardrobes. As someone who lived through the era, kids, please, that stuff looked like shit back then. Do us all a favor and let it stay dead. Those really ugly, grand dad, striped hats should not only be burned, but the folks that wear them probably need to be slapped, too. I’m just looking out for you people here. Also, and I say this in all honesty, the opening act may well have been the worst band I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ll admit, I (fortunately) only saw the last couple of songs and not the whole set, but Sweet Jebus, they sucked on ice. Playing some form of wanna-be Nouveau New Wave, they were just bad, plain and simple. I’ve erased their name from my memory, so you’ll have to do some web detective work on your own if you’re that interested. This is particulary disheartening in light of the fact that the Kills’ last opener was Scout Niblett and she pretty much rocks my world.

Oh well, there’s always the next tour, I suppose.

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