Relive last night's Kills concert with our slideshow.
Let it be said that the Kills' Alison Mosshart should not be lumped in with "chick" lead singers. She should go in that special box with people like Robert Plant, Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, Lux Interior, and other feral lead singers who have stomped, terrorized, and titillated since the dawn of rock.
The Kills -- made up of Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince -- have always been hard to pin down, or at least describe for the uninitiated. There's damaged Bo Diddley passages, swatches of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra's collaborations, and plenty of 21st century garage-grind to keep the haircuts happy. It's not so much pretty as much as it is industrial and shady. Did I mention it's catchy as hell when it wants to be? Even the duo's take on Patsy Cline's depressive "Crazy" sounded like a lullaby in their hands compared to their own cuts like "Nail In My Coffin".
Openers Hunters and direct support JEFF The Brotherhood tenderized the crowd, leading off around 9 p.m. Hunters is a Kills-ish Brooklyn act with ties to Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs and also former Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, and they fit perfeclty attached to the Kills vibe.
Brothers of the stone age JEFF The Brotherhood, coming off last year's sophomore effort We Are The Champions, whipped up a great meaty portion of phaser-drenched garage metal. Yes, guitarist Jake Orrall was able to wrench out nastiness with only a three-string, clear-bodied instrument too. I saw copies of both Champions and their 2009's Heavy Days in the hands of many by the time their set was over.
The Kills appeared around 10:50, with Hince and Mosshart in tight black stage-wear, with two leather-jacketed and partially-masked drummers behind them. Opening with 2005's "No Wow," Mosshart thrashed her now pink-blonde-black Neapolitan-tinged hair in time, as Hince stabbed at his guitar. "Future Starts Slow," the lead-off track on last year's Blood Pressures made great use of the masked men, with the pumping blood into the throbbing, menacing drive of the Tom Waits-biting cut.
There was Midnight Boom's "Last Day Of Magic," still as close as the band has come to pop-confectionery, coming midway through the set. Boom came out in 2008, the duo's last album before Mosshart teamed up with Jack White for the witchy Dead Weather the next year, and their debut Horehound.
As great as the Kills are up close and live, the fire that Mosshart exhibited with the Weather is missed, not that she isn't a knockout with her home band. With the Weather, she had a more willing playmate in White, as opposed to Hince who only interacts with Mosshart onstage a handful of times.
It has to be said that just as many women were seen cooing and lusting over Mosshart as there were men, doing their best cartoonish leering. The band's music seems to strike a slinky chord with both sexes, with the asses of both said genders moving in time, even to older material like "Fuck The People" and the hopscotch pop of "Cheap And Cheerful", but it's hard to stay still during a Kills show as it is.
Personal Bias: If you were at the Dead Weather's sexually-confusing 2010 House Of Blues show, then you understand.
The Crowd: A great mix of men and women, some clean-cut and others hip and nasty, especially for a foggy Tuesday night. Predictably, we all ended up at Dirt bar after the show to commiserate.
Overheard in the Crowd:Plenty of my female friends were describing things that they would do with both Mosshart and Hince together, or at least on a one-on-one basis. I'm a gentleman though, so I kept my mouth shut.
Random Notebook Dump: The world needs a Mosshart solo album. The band's run-through of "The Last Goodbye" was the stuff of David Lynch-directed dreams.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.