Over The Weekend: The Kills at The Granada

Better Than: Staying at home and watching the Dallas Cowboys trade away their only Day One draft pick.

There were three bands on the bill, but the night belonged completely to garage rock duo The Kills on Saturday at the Granada.

And, it must be noted, the opening acts did little to convince anyone otherwise.

First off was Nashville duo, The Magic Wands, which featured dual guitars and vocals over a backing track of white noise and atmospheric dance beats. While the sounds coming from the stage were technically decent, the noises emanating from the guitars didn't add much to the overall mix. And to exacerbate the band's lack of stage presence, the two-piece performed most of its set with next to no stage lighting after consistently requesting the lights be lowered after its first three songs.

Reformed Brit rockers The Horrors had a much more polished set, yet this band too was unable to win over the majority of the near-capacity Granada crowd. The wall of sound the band created felt more preoccupied with creating moods than songs (think an angrier/more goth-sounding Joy Division). And although it was a fairly insignificant moment, the highlight of the band's set was still when frontman Faris Badwan accidentally unplugged one of the monitors and then proceeded to wrestle with the unwilling soundman who crawled out to fix it.

From the moment Alison "VV" Mosshart and guitarist Jamie "Hotel" Hince of The Kills strutted onto the stage, however, the entire energy of the room became more electric. The venue's flyer promoting the show compared the band's sound to the White Stripes, but in this version, Meg has traded in her drum kit for a drum machine, leaving her free to step out front and kick the collective ass of the unsuspecting audience--which Mosshart did habitually. And while Hince's guitar-playing is not necessarily all that similar to Jack Whites, it should still be considered just as innovative, as he was able to evoke sounds of car motors and gunfire at different points in the set.

In the boy's club of garage-punk frontmen, Mosshart successfully proved she belonged on Saturday night, continually switching between seductiveness and ferocity during songs, and pacing the floor broodingly in between them. Both she and Hince were well-practiced showmen who had little trouble commanding the audience's attention with gritty guitar tones and fabulous gyrations throughout the all-too-brief set.

In short, the band's name says it all: On Saturday at the Granada, Mosshart and Hince simply killed.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note:
I overheard one woman who was equal parts pissed and jealous when Allison Mosshart lit up on stage as the rest of the crowd was forced to smoke its cigarettes outside.

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