The Kills, Webster Hall, New York NY

A Lesson in Rockstardom, Dating Super Models

Words by Andrew Rozas
Photos by Hatnim Lee

For decades, high school kids have made themselves feel cooler by smoking cigarettes. However, last week’s The Kills show at Webster Hall proved there is another way to feel that cool – just listen to The Kills. In the way that a Jackie Chan movie makes one feel like he too could be a kung-fu star, singer Alison Mossheart and guitarist Jamie Hince’s show made me want to curl my upper lip, lower my brow, get into a bar fight, have a one night stand, and perhaps even smoke a cigarette. God only knows what it must feel like to actually be them.

After the show I heard wisps of “best show ever” from other audience members as we filed out. It was an amazing show that elicited a visceral reaction, however, for me, the band is just too composed to be the best show ever. Keith Richards would be great at the helm of a band, but he needs the antics and life of Mick to consistently be the best show their audience has ever seen. On The Kills’ stage, Hince laid low playing the guitar lines of their otherwise digitally composed songs, only occasionally throwing a tantrum on his instrument, lashing into its strings in bursts reminiscent of Buddy Guy’s style. Yet, Mossheart was another story. Rather than emceeing a party in the way that Mick works a crowd, she nearly intimidated her audience into loving her. Pacing back and forth on stage, bobbing and swaying, she was like a raving derelict holding a secret that she wasn’t sure she wanted to tell. When it was her time to lean into the microphone, she funneled the seething energy into an understated voice and pose that simultaneously invited the audience to want her, but also possessed an air of indifference. Her seduction beckoned the gaze of her fans, yet it was merely an invitation she was granting, not a call for adoration.

The strangest part of the night wasn’t when a mysterious fire interrupted the show for about twenty minutes, but rather when they returned on stage. Mossheart thanked the crowd for their patience in a sweet, kind voice, and for a quick second, she’d slipped out of the harsh persona she commands so well and I thought maybe it was all a gimmick. Thankfully, they instantly proved they were more than just a convincing act, effortlessly regaining their aura and resuming their head-bobbing sermon with “Alphabet Pony”. Gunning through the rest of the show, at the end of the second and final song of the encore, Hince didn’t seem ready to leave the stage. As the song “Fuck the People” came to an end, he’d dropped to his knees and continued wailing on his guitar, making sure there was nothing left in him before he walked off stage. When the night was finished, the differentiation of songs didn’t seem to matter; it all bled together into a dark and beautiful performance that sunk into me until I fell asleep praying for redemption and black leather jackets.