The Kills Bring Raw Rock and Chemistry to Detroit
words + photos by tiffany cuthrell
The Kills made a powerful stop at Detroit’s St. Andrew’s Hall on May 22nd, 2016.
The perfectly matched duo are touring ahead of their forthcoming release, “Ash & Ice”. Their fifth studio album is due out on June 3rd, and is a long awaited follow up to 2011’s “Blood Pressures”.
Vocalist Alisson Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince have been minimalists since the beginning. The pair burst onto the music scene with their debut, “Keep On Your Mean Side” back in 2003. Since their inception, The Kills have continued to remain true to their raw sound. Vocals, fitting harmonies, jabbing guitar, and distorted effects round out their heavy feel. Mosshart’s PJ Harvey-esque prowess pair wonderfully with Hince’s deep chords throughout a march on rhythm.
“Ash & Ice” is sure to portray a band continuing to evolve in a wonderful direction, both musically, and even down to Mosshart’s vibrant follicles. This album has marked a triumphant return for The Kills. Since their last release, guitarist Hince sustained an injury, thus had to endure multiple surgeries on his hand. With permanent finger damage, he had to relearn how to play guitar. After which, Hince took a trip to Siberia (literally), while Mosshart penned her most affecting lyrics yet. Mosshart has artistically been expanding her range not only in writing, but exhibiting her self-taught paintings via a gallery as well.
Opening the night was L.A. Witch. The trio of beautifully fierce gals appropriately hails from Los Angeles, and is on their first full US tour. L.A. Witch released their third single, “Drive Your Car” earlier this year. Fuzzy far off vocals (in the same vein as The Pixies’ Kim Deal), bluesy riffs, a deep beat and heavy basslines round out a haunting, psychedelic feel. The three ladies captivated and entranced the audience with a confident performance that spanned their half hour set.
To the delight of the packed venue, The Kills took the stage at promptly 9 PM. The show was being broadcast via a Yahoo! live stream. The duo hit with high energy immediately, setting a rocking mood for the night with 2004’s “No Wow”.
Hince’s array of vast effects and distortion, coupled with the pair’s commanding vocals filled the small, intimate venue. The Kills were clearly at the top of their game, expert at movement, as well as presenting their music in its purest form. The dynamic duo is rock ‘n’ roll personified – sexy, beautiful, bold and stylish. Hince knocked out riffs with oozing confidence, dressed in a sharp black blazer and dark jeans. Mosshart whirled and writhed across the stage, truly and fantastically possessed by the sound. The statuesque beauty, dressed in leather pants and a button up with stars belted out with confidence. While whipping her golden locks, she’d pick up an occasional guitar to fill out The Kills’ radiant sound. Both were joined on stage by two fellow musicians who were on drums, bass, and synth.
At one point in the set, Hince reminisced (over many thank yous to the city) that one of their first gigs ever in America was in Detroit. “It was the beginning of a fantastic time here.”
They included both singles that have been released from “Ash & Ice” thus far, “Heart Of A Dog” and “Doing It To Death”, transitioning from album to stage without a hitch. Their setlist extended throughout their previous four LPs. Jamie and Alisson closed out their night with a four song encore, ending with the ever popular jam, “Sour Cherry”.
The Kills will be touring with stops in the US and overseas into November.
Check out the video for The Kills’ latest single, “Heart Of A Dog” here: