Monday 7 June 2010

The Kills

Way before they got their celebrity endorsement as a result of Jaimie Hince sleeping with model about town and celebrity ligger, Kate Moss I stumbled upon the Kills one night in June 2003 in King Tuts.

My interest was piqued in the band earlier that year when I read about them somewhere and they were being grouped in with my favourite new live band of the time The Raveonettes. So I bought the first ep Black Rooster which had been released the previous year and the follow-up Fuck The People. The sound was raw and kind of bluesy but unlike the The White Stripes who certain parts of the music press were saying that they were copying (the Kills had yet to be crowned with the mantle of cool), I felt there was a real edge and scuzzyness to it.

Live this rawness and edge was palpable and the air hung heavy with the apparent sexual tension between the two members Hince and Alison Mosshart ( I can not bring myself to call them V.V. and Hotel). At times it looked as if the duo were ready to fight and at other times I thought that they were going to get it on right there on the stage at King Tuts and all the way through Mosshart smoking like a lum. It was one of the best performances I've ever seen. As with the Raveonettes, the size of the Wah Wah Hut seemed to suit the Kills.

Their debut album, Keep On Your Mean Side, is an outstanding example of less is more with just the guitars, drum machine and the vocals,  it is raw and exciting with the underlying threat of violence which you expect to break out at any minute.

About 18 months after seeing them in Tut's I saw them again in Oran Mor but this time they failed to pack the same punch as before. I don't know if it was the venue or the fact that they had been so good the first time but I came away disappointed.

The same can be said about the two subsequent albums.  The law of diminishing returns seems to apply. The second album, No Wow is good but doesn't quite reach the heights of the first and the third, Midnight Boom, more or less washed over me and I don't think that I have revisited it more than half a dozen times.

It may just be me being fickle or contrary due to the celebrity endorsement but I truly don't think that the band have ever surpassed Keep On Your Mean Side.

The Kills - Wait


John Medd said...

We saw them at the Leeds Festival in 04, I think it was. I remember thinking at the time I'd rather be seeing them in a little club than a big field.

drew said...

John - can't imagine seeing them at a festival, I don't think taht the sound's full enough for that kind of environment.