The Kills Are on the Prowl

August 9th, 2011

The Kills – Terminal 5 – August 8, 2011

When it comes to rock and roll, sure you’ve got your guitar and drums and vocals, but what it really comes down to is attitude. Playing the first of two big rock shows at Terminal 5 last night, the Kills stripped down to the bare minimum of the former, but cranked up the knob until the attitude needle was pinned in the red. Just a duo, Allison Mosshart on vocals and Jamie Hince on guitar came out and immediately were on the prowl, playing plenty from their new release, Blood Pressures, as well as some older cuts.

Mosshart had the classic bluesy growl going on and Hince’s guitar distortion offered plenty of ferociousness as well, giving the pair a big-cat-on-the-hunt quality. The metaphor was apt as the backdrop was a huge leopard-skin print from floor to ceiling: You could feel the appropriately faux-velvet texture from the back of the room. By the third song, “Heart Is a Beating Drum,” Mosshart had picked up a guitar and the Kills started moving in for the kill. With synchronized lights and preprogrammed fills and drums, the show was a well-choreographed affair. But rock and roll doesn’t allow for too much of that—with Mosshart knocking over her microphone stand or kicking over stage lights or not too subtly expectorating onstage and Hince’s guitar staying out of tune for longer than he’d like, and not a blurb of extraneous chitchat, this was a rock show through and through.

A couple of backup singers joined for two songs, including on the highlight, “DNA,” which found arms in the crowd waving furiously along to the music. Near the show’s end, Mosshart introduced a cover of “One Silver Dollar” as one of her “favorite songs,” diverging with a true duet before the show turned hairy again. The set was a lightning-fast high-energy hour, the band a cheetah ready to pounce and the audience ready to be devoured. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood |

(The Kills again play Terminal 5 tonight.)