The Kills | Concert preview
The Kills carry a torch for rock & roll in more ways than one.
Taking the guitar-drum minimalism of the White Stripes and the Black Keys one step further, this U.K.-meets-South-Florida duo always manages to bloom artistically while sticking to the bare essentials: Jamie Hince, guitars (or, sometimes drums); Alison Mosshart, vocals (or, sometimes, guitar, too); plus drum machines, loops and various whiz-bang devices. With that, the duo can concoct a sonic maelstrom or strip it all away to the very dead of night, Hince’s guitar hero virtuosity by turns supplying stage dressing or switchblade counterpoint to Mosshart’s titanic emotions.
One of music’s most genuinely visceral performers, the singer evokes both waif and wraith in her songs, at once fragile and tough in ripped jeans and leather jacket, an undeniable, unalloyed rock star whose soulful turbulence threatens to shred vital tissue. In their starkest moments on the band’s last tour, the shards of guitar, electronic pummel and avenging vixen shriek made us remember what we missed from P.J. Harvey in the last decade.
That vibe isn’t everything, though. Gossip about Dead Weather bandmate Jack White’s domestic situation has often pinpointed Mosshart. Her tearful South by Southwest performance of “The Last Goodbye” (it’s on YouTube and the last album, Blood Pressures) seems to amplify some deep romantic woe, but it also fleshes out the telltale heart beating beneath the punk veneer. Rock & roll faith-keepers that they certainly are, the Kills carry a torch in more ways than one.