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Concert Review: The Kills by James Printer Friendly

Alright, so I just got back home from The Kills concert at Emo's, and here is my initial observation: The fans of the band The Kills, and/or the two opening acts The Magic Wands and The Horrors, strangely have a lower average height than fans of the last show I saw at Emo’s just earlier this month: The Brian Jonestown Massacre.


Now, I have a hypothesis on why this is the case. First, you have to understand something about one of the opening acts: the Horrors. Now, to be fair, I got bored of reading through and editing this review just now and googled the Horrors and heard them un-live for the first time. It is not actually utterly horrible, and they even have some mildly entertaining videos for their music. However, hearing them several hours ago live and for the first time, (and watching the stage performance of their front man, who somehow incorporates the worst physical and behavioral elements of Marylyn Manson and Joey Ramone, which I know doesn’t sound completely irredeemable, but remember I said WORST elements of each --the foremost “worst“ potential aspect being that this gentleman is not deceased) they were the third worst opening act I have ever seen.


The worst opening act ever is The Westbury Squares. Not to dwell on them, but let me just say that they had a bassists who looked like a giant straight edge neo-Nazi, except that he, along with the rest of the band, had this ridiculous smile on their face which basically embodied the phrase, “shit eating grin”, and they bounced around on the stage and sounded like they were some pathetic Christian Rock band playing to a huge crowd of adoring elementary and middle school kids who have been brain washed by various youth ministers at their church into liking this terrible music . In fact, thinking about it now -- I think they may have been a Christian Rock band. I can’t be certain though, but what I am certain of is that their music made me want to take a cue from my great grandmother (my father’s maternal grandmother) and to unsuccessfully poison my entire family and my self so that I would be placed into a state mental facility for the remainder of my life, and thus not allowed to make the terrible mistake to go to a concert and potentially have to hear a band as unbearable as The Mother Fucking Westbury Squares.


The second worst opening act was this guy with an acoustic guitar that opened up for Frank Black in Houston 10 years ago, and who was so prima facie bad that the entire audience was booing and straight up heckling him. To which the guy responded by refusing to play until we were silent, and then he started demanding that we bring him booze, and then he collapsed from drunkenness and crawled off stage. This event was admittedly enjoyable.


But , as Kurtz said, the Horror the Horror. Oh and my theory for the shortness. So The Horror are real bad. But unlike previous terrible opening bands, the crowd was not reacting to them with the entertaining phenomenon of heckling, or the quiet polite clapping of pity - no, people were rushing to the stage, saying “oh look, there ____is”, screaming “I love you____”, “Whooooo!” and “yeah!” and they were clapping sincerely and enthusiastically.


Which leads me to my theory on the shortness -- I think the crowd was full of fans of The Horror, and that the predominant amount of Horror fans are effected by Down’s Syndrome. Now this makes sense. That would explain the clapping and jubilation, and would also explain the greater amount of people I could see over -- because as we all know, that extra chromosome not only renders its victims at a sub human level of intelligence, it also makes them easy to see over.


As for The Kills themselves, they started their set off a little messy and not yet into it, but by the end of the show, they more than lived up to the expectations I had for them based on their recorded music.


The Kills music has a certain driving intensity to it, yet it is also sensual and well structured. Listening to it, it is like the machinations and delusions of a madman -- there is an order to his thoughts, yet they are obviously depraved and dangerous. And the lyrics perfectly manifest into signifiers the energy created with the music -- the words are often vague and irrational, metaphorical without an obvious literal translation, the words are violent, and glorifying of reckless and anti-social behavior. Yet, unlike punk bands and other music with a political or anarchistic message behind its calls for violence and its driving music, The Kills seek chaos and madness out of a sensual desire for pleasure from the pain they will both find and inflict. There is no rational cause, there is also not the pretension of ‘darkness’ for its own sake -- rather, there is a sexual satisfaction for and from this band whose music and lyrics encourage a sado-masochistic abandoning of rationality and normalcy.


When I listen to the Kills, the only thing in the art or music world that it reminds me of are those parts of certain Melville and Poe stories in which the plot disintegrates to the point where the characters are locked into a gruesome menagerie of feral animals, cannibalism, consciousness of looming annihilation, infanticide and people so utterly terrified that they transcend their individuality. The Kills music and lyrics have that same dark and mad mindset that takes pleasure in the terrific and gruesome realties of human existence and Life.


And watching Alison Mosshart on stage, you can see in her erratic movements that resemble the convulsions of witchdoctors doing native aboriginal dances, or in the ever growing throughout the night primal rawness of her voice, one can see in these a woman under her own spell. I see before me on the stage, which in turn heightens my own similar experience, someone thoughtfully and, with what one may call a spiritual like feeling, abandoning their consciousness and identity to the animalistic instincts in themselves that society tries so hard to domesticate out of them. I watch and feel convulsions of lust, violence, power... it is all very Dionistic. And can there be a grater accomplishment to a piece of art than that?


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