Photographs by Sarah Rix
Having not released any new material since 2011’s Blood Pressures, I was pleasantly surprised when US/UK garage-punk duo The Kills announced a visit to town.
Serving as a warm-up for their upcoming support slot for the Queens of the Stone Age at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, the one-off date was a chance for the band to iron out any kinks before the high profile gig.
Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince always put on an electrifying show, which has evolved from the intense foreplay characterizing their early gigs, akin to an x-rated peep show. The chemistry between the two was electric, bordering on downright dirty.
Lots has changed since the old days. We’re all older, Hince got married to Kate Moss and Mosshart hooked up with Jack White for a couple of albums as The Dead Weather. The duo have also expanded with the addition of two synchronized percussionists.
The bitter cold didn’t dampen spirits as the band opened with “Future Starts Slow” and proceeded with a just-over a 60 minute set heavy on the band’s last two albums, Blood Pressures and Midnight Boom. “U.R.A. Fever” was an early highlight benefitting from the extra percussion.
“No Wow”, usually the band’s trusted set opener was reserved for the home stretch. During it’s time as set opener, I’ve found it a frustrating experience as the sound is never ideal for the opening song. The song’s appearance later sounded mega and ignited yet another spark with the crowd and the band.
Hince did most of the talking for the night, declaring love for the city and thankful for the warm reception. With no sound issues, set-list or crowd, it was hard not to be enthused. Mosshart, now a blonde, was the star of the encore, starting with the uncharacteristically torch-y “The Last Goodbye” before firing up with a molten “Fried My Little Brains” which inspired a large pit pogo-ing while Mosshart paced the stage thrashing her head like an out of control bobble-head.
Opening the night was U.S. Girls, a four-piece centered around Meghan Remy. She informed the crowd she had just become a permanent resident of Toronto before starting their set with a baffling “cover” of Sloan’s “Underwhelmed”. The song was not indicative of what was to come and probably had many scrambling to get to the bar in the lobby. However, the band recovered from the initial mis-step and ended their set with an inspired cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In the Dark”. But I did find that Remy was the weakest link in the equation.