Dressed in an animal print shirt and roughed-up gold boots, Alison Mosshart (V.V.) of London band The Kills prowls the stage like a tigress in heat, while her partner in music (and against the world) Jamie Hince (Hotel) manically assaults his guitar. To call this duo “sexy” would be trivial, trite, even. To sum them up, or underestimate, a mistake. To want them to achieve success on a palpable and financial level? Well, that’s a mission.

Last night, NYLON Magazine, p.i.n.k., and KY celebrated the latest cover stars of the fashion and pop culture rag by throwing a blowout at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. In grand fashionista and hipsterati tradition, the evening was a red blur of free-flowing open bar vodka, art installations promoting personal lubricant and the big celebratory comedown from another glittery Fashion Week.

The techno is booming, throbbing, and tunes from hot buzz band The Wombats, New Order and various electro superstahs are egging the lubed and lit up well-heeled partygoers along. They don’t mind that the band won’t go on until nearly 11 p.m. Or, maybe they do, but the free vodka helps. It always helps.

Videos from Fashion Week, showing the new Marc Jacobs and Charlotte Ronson collections are on loop, as is a black-and-white film by the Cobrasnake, featuring teenage internet sensation and fashion muse Cory Kennedy running around a strangely desolate Soho, being her kinetic, precocious, photogenic self. But the centerpiece of it all, up there on the big screen, is a short called “In Bed with The Kills,” and thusly the reason for this sexy soiree on a bitterly cold Monday night in the city.

Staking a claim against the venue stage, the interminable wait for the guests of honor finds one’s brain vibrating at a different BPM than usual. All that techno, caffeinated vodka and designer purses flying about can be comical, if not tiring as an evening drags on. Young folks take their own pictures, mutter about Facebook, and the strobe lights start to form a Morse Code all their own. Or so I think.

And then it happens! The Kills finally take the stage, a burst of sexual dynamism, tension, appeal and cigarette smoke. Mosshart and Hince are masters of ramshackle mania, of a dirgy ferocity that enthralls and inspires. They launch into “No Wow” with guttural gusto, as if Mosshart the tigress was hungry for some prey, with Hince as her perfect henchman, and the rest of us their willing captives.

Sure, the sound was off, The Kills couldn’t hear themselves, and up front the vocals were too low. Luckily the back of the venue were treated to the intended incendiary assault, as Mosshart and Hince tear through old gem “Pull A U” from 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side, and a sucker punch of cuts off of March’s release, Midnight Boom, lead single “U.R.A. Fever,” “Sour Cherry,” an outrageous “Tape Song” and “Last Day of Magic” make the case for the phenomenal new album.

Much has been written about the band’s gigs over the years, and the utter focus Mosshart and Hince would project onto each other; virtually ignoring the audience because of stage fright, but sexually explosive nonetheless. Last night, the two happily played to the audience, standing stage front, smiling, talking between songs, and giving us what we want: more ridiculously provocative interaction, bull and matador, predator and prey, Mosshart and Hince and their symbiotic sweat.

Older tunes “Black Rooster” and “Wait” were tonally ideal (if not a bit obscure for the likely unfamiliar audience) lead-ins to new fantastic single “Cheap & Cheerful” that found a serpentine Mosshart thrashing her lithe frame while Hince works the stage like a lurching, debonair lion. Who knew it was possible for a band’s veneer to be so starkly cool, while suffocating the audience in musty, lusty body heat?

Yes, what you’ve heard is true. The Kills are a couple of leather-loving, photo booth posing, slinky, salacious Londoners with an enchantingly combustible cohesiveness that, when they detonate their Midnight Boom come March, will make the weaker ones run for cover and the rest of us jump on stage to join the band.

Set list:
No Wow
Pull A U
U.R.A. Fever
Sour Cherry
Kissy Kissy
Tape Song
Last Day of Magic
Black Rooster
Cheap & Cheerful
Fried My Little Brains

–Carrie Alison, Photos by Carrie Alison

  1. [...] about the Logitech Squeezebox Boom is listening to Radio One London from an apartment in Boston.NYLON Magazine with The Kills at Bowery Ballroom, NYC …Dressed in an animal print shirt and roughed-up gold boots, Alison Mosshart (V.V.) of London band [...]