The Kills

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR LIVE PHOTOS FROM THE KILLS AUCKLAND SHOW BY CHRIS ZWAAGDYK

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR LIVE PHOTOS FROM THE KILLS AUCKLAND SHOW BY CHRIS ZWAAGDYK

By Anya Whitlock

Artist: The Kills

Date / Venue: Thursday July 28th, 2016 - The Powerstation, Auckland

The Kills are a rare marvel. The duo of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are one of the few acts to last this long beyond the cooler than cool 'heroin chic' era of the late 90s early 00's, when everyone wanted to look like Kate Moss (Hince's ex wife) or Alison Mosshart. This gig in the nostalgic innards of the Powerstation was my first live experience of The Kills and my first impression was that they were surprisingly joyful. Alison was almost effervescent; extremely engaging and Jamie was clearly enjoying the crowd. It felt a bit like they were all smiles running their victory lap.

To set the visual scene, Alison and her wild candy floss coloured hair somehow appeared to be in multiple locations on stage at any given time. Jamie held the space to the left of the stage and it was amazing there was any left considering he had no less than eight guitars and a guitar tech. The drummer and synth/bassist were buried toward the back of the stage and it really seemed as though they were merely the hired help, which was a shame as they were both incredible musicians and the performance would have benefitted from more interaction with them.

The third song Kissy Kissy was a nice breather after the hard hitting, high energy intro and the first time Alison played her sticker laden guitar. Next up was crowd favourite Black Balloon which was a driving rock ballad and I began to appreciate the craftsmanship with which The Kills took their audience on an emotional journey. Through hard, reactive reckless worlds to soft, vulnerable reflective ones.

The most successful single off their new album Doing It To Death was very sultry and sexy with electronic rhythms undulating throughout. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser which is always testimony to a truly great band when people are singing along to the most recent work, rather than becoming animated only when songs from the first album or two are played.

My favourite Kills album to date is Blood Pressures and it was great to enjoy DNA as well as Baby Says from that album. The latter was a magical performance and many times throughout Jamie and Alison sang to each other, shared secret smiles and lit up the stage with a mutual understanding that no-one else could grasp. 

This show made me remember how much I love good ol' dirty rock and roll and how enjoyable it is to watch magnetic people do what they do best. Siberian Nights was the highlight of the encore for me. It was a nice discovery from their latest album Ash & Ice. It would have been a treat to hear my favourite song The Heart Is A Beating Drum but it's understandable after 15 years and 5 albums that they can't please everyone all the time (not that they're trying).