A Little Tornado: The Kills @ The Fillmore

10/31/2014

The same night the Giants served up San Francisco with yet another plate of glory with their third World Series win in five years, The Kills stopped by The Regency to give a sold-out crowd a solid shot of their sassy pop-infused rock ‘n’ roll.

Singer Alison Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince strolled onstage sporting ear-to-ear smiles, recognizing that it was a special night to be playing in the city. The Giants had thrown the winning strikeout just minutes beforehand, and Mosshart’s greeting “Hello San Francisco… congratulations San Francisco…” carried a knowing winky-face tone to it. Easy crowd-pleaser. We obviously all went nuts. The mood was so excitable, they probably could have squeezed ketchup bottles into their microphones all night and had the us all begging for an encore. Luckily, that’s not what happened. They rocked.

With the somewhat familar elements that make up their music– gritty fuzz guitar, earth-shaking drum machine beats, and howling vocals, it’s their shameless, almost adolescent “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude that manages to set them apart from their peers. Raging through a set heavy with songs from 2011’s Blood Pressures LP, including standouts “U.R.A. Fever” and “Heart is a Beating Drum”, the duo ran around the wide-open stage, backed up by quadruple live drummers, who provided a hell of a beefy backbone to the songs. Mosshart’s hurricane blonde hair was the 3rd member of the band, in constant motion against the stage’s leopard backdrop.

The musical chemistry between Hince and Mosshart is so obvious it hurts. They’ve spoken at length about their fulfilling creative partnership, and you can really see it when you catch them staring at each other intensely while playing. They may not be romantically involved, but you wouldn’t know that from watching them perform. Mosshart constantly encroaches on Hince’s personal space in the best possible way, walking right up to him with her hands behind her back, draping her hair in his face while playing guitar. It’s great theatre. A little more than halfway through the set, we were treated to something I’d been hoping for all night- a new song called “Hum For Your Buzz”. It’s a sparse, down & dirty blues ditty, overdriven and prickling with enough jangly guitar licks to carve through a smoky Memphis bartop. Also, how does the chorus somehow recall Bessie Smith and Radiohead’s “Creep” at the same time? I don’t know, but it does. YouTuber AdmiralNeeda caught the following footage of the new track:

The Kills – “Hum for your Buzz”

After an encore including personal favorites “No Wow “ and “Sour Cherry”, Mosshart ended the show standing solo on the stage, belting out the sad waltz “The Last Goodbye” before taking a bow with Hince and all the drummers.

The Kills were on point, and we were lucky to have caught them on their short string of U.S. dates. Now that the tour is over, we just need them to finish up LP number five and make another trip back to SF to play us even more new material!

Support provided by Virginia band, Baby in Vain.

Grab Blood Pressures over at Domino Records.

The Kills aren’t currently on tour, but here’s where you can check for new dates.