The Kills | 08.05.15

kills sqIt is hard to describe Mosshart on stage, but the term “feline” comes close. She stalks around her territory with a ferocity and energy that seem impossible.

 


babyinvain 500
Baby in Vain

w/Baby in Vain
The Ogden Theatre, Denver

Going to concerts as a reviewer often brings the question of why one band is paired with another. Most of the time it is who will draw or who are friends with whom, so the pairing of Baby in Vain with The Kills was rather interesting to me. Baby in Vain is a little know band from Copenhagen, Denmark, who has garnered some media buzz here and in their native country (they played both SXSW and CMJ last year). The trio of women have been together about five years and have produced slightly less than an album’s worth of songs over those years. The Kills are the darlings of American alt-rock, having released 4 albums over a 15-year career. Their appeal is wide-ranging and people hang on the hope of their next album. 

Baby in Vain (Lola Hammerich, Benedicte Pierleoni, and Andrea Thuesen) took the stage at the Ogden Theatre, and it was immediately apparent why there is a buzz about them. The playing style reminds me of other great bands at their rawest: think Nirvana at the time of Bleach or Sleater-Kinney prior to their sainthood. They attacked their instruments and screamed their lyrics with adoration to the music and maybe a little awkwardness that is endearing. Mostly, they were having fun. Baby in Vain’s music comes off as early grunge and has been suggested that there is sludge and heavy metal in there. If you hadn’t heard the recorded songs before, the concert might have been a bit of a loss for you, but their enthusiasm was hard to miss. Glances and smirks rocketed across the stage between the three as they urged each other to find a note and hit a lyric. Find the band’s scattered discography online (they are social media stalwarts) to hear their new single and the handful of previous singles.

Then the Kills took the stage, and the audience—that ranged from 20s to 40s—was immediately worshipful and hanging on every song. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince were backed by two rather large percussion kits, which give the band its signature sound. Much of the night, the percussionists moved in unison to give Hince and Mosshart a solid foundation on which to deliver selections from their discography, as well as three new songs from the as-yet unannounced, long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Blood Pressures. And deliver they did.

It is hard to describe Mosshart on stage, but the term “feline” comes close. She stalks around her territory with a ferocity and energy that seem impossible (especially on a stage where it had to be nearing 100 degrees, thanks to the malfunctioning of three of the Ogden’s four air conditioning units). If she wasn’t singing in that strong, distinct voice, she was dancing or searching for something, anything. Hince has made playing the guitar look about as cool as it can possibly be, and his abilities match that look.

The band covered many of the songs the audience knew well (with the exception of “Future Starts Slow”) and introduced a handful of new ones—“Doin’ it to Death,” “Echo Home,” and “Impossible Tracks”; these fit in nicely with the rest of the set and appear to set a very solid foundation for the long-awaited new album. the duo spoke few words throughout the night, but at one point Mosshart looked out at the sweaty, happy crowd and said, “We should come to Denver more often.” The audience exploded and I am sure there were many willing to take them up on that offer.

The pairing I alluded to at the beginning of this review seemed obvious by the end of the show. The Kills are obviously professionals to the hilt. They were note perfect and there wasn’t second of that show where the audience wasn’t riveted to them. Baby in Vain were less so when it came to being letter perfect, but their enthusiasm and energy easily matched that of The Kills. Both bands’ obvious joy for performing reminded me of why I love live music and the importance of that connection. | Jim Dunn

The Kills set list
U.R.A. Fever
Heart Is A Beating Drum 
Kissy Kissy 
DNA 
Satellite 
Impossible Tracks 
Echo Home 
Black Balloon 
Tape Song 
No Wow 
Baby Says 
Doin’ it to Death 
Pots and Pans 
Monkey 23 

Encore:
The Last Goodbye 
Last Day of Magic 
Fried My Little Brains 

All three of the new Kills songs are on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4GkOMeAu14S_ABeY4CT2Tw

The Kills – http://www.thekills.tv/

Baby in Vain – https://www.facebook.com/babyinvain

About Jim Dunn 126 Articles
Jim Dunn grew up in NY in the 70s and 80s. Even though that time in music really shapes his appreciation it does not define it. Music, like his beloved history is a long intermingled path that grows, builds and steals from its past. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and a wild bunch of animals.

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