The Kills Granada Theater Monday, January 23
Better than: No! No no no no no no!!!!!
A mediocre performance by The Kills has more rock star quality than an excellent night for most bands. Hate to say it, but last night at the Granada, the band was a bit on the mediocre side. There was the snarling guitar of the über-cool Jamie Hince, the prowling and howling Alison Mosshart, and the two trading licks and looks with each other as they ran through their paces.
But -- and it was a massive but -- there were a couple of bizarro additions to the stage that were reductive, distracting and unnecessary. Yes, contrary to Mosshart's declaration just last year that they would never supplement the duo, they went and added two performers to the touring band. Two synchronized drummers, playing matching tom toms, wearing matching silly bandanas and, most importantly, not adding a thing to the sound.
It was possible to almost completely ignore them, but not quite. The silliness of their between-note poses, the fumbled stick twirls and the contrast to the unleashed Mosshart demanded both visual inspection and wonderment. They were the musical embodiment of "jumping the shark" and you just had to ask, "Why??"
The set kicked off with the classic "No Wow," a song that perfectly captures the band's charisma and sonic palette. Mosshart's multi-hued hair was a new look that worked for her, teased into witchy glory. This was followed by "Future Starts Slow" and the set went deep into their catalog. Fortunately, the drummers exited the stage after three or four songs, sadly returning later in the set.
There were some surprises, as when Mosshart and Hince sat on the edge of the stage and played "Crazy." Maybe not the highlight of the night, but interesting. There was also a very grinding version of "Nail in My Coffin" and Hince's extended solo jam at the end of "Pots and Pans" showed he can play fairly straight-forward guitar.
The four-song encore started with "Last Goodbye" before ending with two deep cuts off their debut, "Fuck the People" and "Monkey 23." Perhaps a bit of a let-down compared to last year's show, but still entertaining to the sold-out crowd.
Preceding The Kills was Jeff the Brotherhood. Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall played a set that was tipped a little more toward their '70s hard rock influences, including the sweet "Diamond Way" and snarling Iron Maiden-sounding jam, "Ripper."
Personal bias: Mosshart is one of the most arresting singers in rock & roll. Whether playing guitar, beating drums, or just unshackled and roaming the stage, she's a high-voltage performer that holds as much attraction for men as women.
By the way: Jeff the Brotherhood really shone in the house party setting of last spring's BroFest, whereas the stage last night seemed constricting.
See more of Mike Brooks' photos here.