The Kills blast through their past, tease the future in ferocious turn at the El Rey Theatre

The Kills at the El Rey Theatre, July 27, 2015. Photo by Kelsey Heng
The Kills at the El Rey Theatre (Photo by Kelsey Heng)

The Kills crashed the El Rey Theatre on Monday night in a thunderous primal storm. For over a decade, the Kills have quarantined a uniquely discernible sound somewhere between blues and punk, a gritty ode to rock’s past and a push into its future. This band is iconic and important, but that’s nothing anyone lucky enough to make it into the sold-out show didn’t already know.

Four years have now passed since “Blood Pressures” was released and though they have stayed on festival touring circuits, it’s new material that is at the top of every fan’s wish list. And for that, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince used Monday to reward patience with a raucous 90 minutes packed with old hits, along with glimpses of new material in the works.

The simple stage set-up has over time evolved, this time the duo were backed by four drummers, mainly for appearance, two drummers on each side mirroring the other side in drumming patterns and often holding the drum sticks high and crossed, X’s illuminated in colored lights. The structured order is a perfect match to the chaotic carnal performance nature of the band.

||| Photos and Review by Kelsey Heng

Hince and Mosshart strutted onto stage purposefully, greeting their eclectic but devout fans. Wasting no time, they immediately powered into “U.R.A Fever,” off 2008’s “Midnight Boom.” “Future Starts Slow” and “Heart is a Beating Drum” finished off the opening and rattled the venue under their spell.

The duo have become over the years a picture of rock idols, fitting the role in appearance and demeanor, exuding nothing but dirty, sexy, twisted ferocity. As a frontwoman, not many get close to the possessed Mosshart. She performed as if in a trance, strutting, convulsing and whipping her bleached hair with every thrust and movement. Her voice was snarling and deep, matched only in intensity she picked up the guitar.

Hince may be the cool to Mosshart’s fire, but he made his presence known equally. Few make the sounds Hince manages; his cacophony of sharp notes and brute solos somehow translates like four players through just a few stage amps. Multiple times he stole the center stage, pointed the guitar like a weapon into the crowd, and demanded a few moments of the spotlight with unparalleled solo riffs during “Kissy Kissy.” He even managed a few smiles and smirks throughout the night, a surprising and welcomed demeanor to see in midst of recent tabloid split with Kate Moss.

Three new songs were unveiled and point to an exciting new release to come, rumored to be early next year. “Impossible Tracks” showcased a driving low guitar beat and staple love-lashed lyrics; “Echo Home” is a slower, sweeter tune that gave Mosshart a moment to stand motionless at her mic. “Doing It to Death” comes across with a reggae undertone and felt like a cover. Regardless, between the guitar solos, Mosshart had the crowd raising their hands and joining in the chorus effortlessly.

Anticipation to hear new material was quickly forgotten as the old hits kept one after the other all given the same freshness. “Black Balloon”, “Tape Song”, “DNA”, “No Wow”, “Satellite” all range in sound from lo-fi to blues rock but blend together seamlessly.

Closing the night with a three-song encore, they beautifully utilized the song to ready the crowd for the show’s end with “Last Goodbye,” but not without “Last Day of Magic” and “Fried My Little Brains.”

Copenhagen grunge trio Baby in Vain opened the show with their youthful take on ’90s-influenced rock.