A Place to Bury Strangers and The Kills were the integral raw bookends of tonight’s show, bringing rock back to its primal essence, each band in their singular, stripped bare way.

NYC’s Place to Bury, their music summoning both Einsturzende-style experimentalism and the kinetic vengeance of the weightiest punk/metal trios, ripped through the our collective jugular with a unstoppable wall of sound, both literally and figuratively. Mid-set, singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann built a tower of amps on the blackened stage and stood before it amidst the stark shadows of the strobes, feedback oozing from his guitar.

Meanwhile, bassist Dion Lunadon and drummer Jay Space fired up the sonic storm around him, until it came crashing down in a final frenzy, along with the amps and Ackermann’s guitar. It was impossible to look away, a crash you couldn’t help but feel drawn to.

It may be hard to separate The Kills from their hype, especially knowing that they travel in such well-heeled circles and with the yachting crowd, guitarist Jamie Hince especially, having just finished his very publicized princely honeymoon with new wife Kate Moss, (to whom he dedicated song “DNA” tonight). Though the duo has made it big, they still know how to “keep it real”, so to speak, staging a killer set, no moment a throw away, playing as though they depended upon bleeding themselves dry for their art. The Kills are obviously one with their music and can’t help but pack a vicious, subversive punch, never letting the gloss take away from the grit.

It’s not fakery when Alison Mosshart lets a mic stand topple or kicks away an extra mic, or in Hince’s case, lets a guitar go out of tune. When Hince says, wryly, after a false start, “You tell me if it’s in tune. I can’t fuckin’ tell,” you know the attitude hasn’t changed, it’s always been as big as the size of the venues they’ve now grown accustomed to.

These aren’t musicians just going through the moves, they’re still living the life, though at times, when watching from comfort of the second floor balcony, show furiously played against the giant faux leopard skin strewn against the back wall, it all seems a perfect rock dream. If Kate Moss herself came out in character as Lady Godiva, riding across the stage on a white stallion mid-set, it might not be that hard to believe.

A bowler-topped BP Fallon, founder of the internationally renowned Death Disco parties and a punk cause célèbre in his own right, provided the perfect introduction to his friends The Kills’ set with his “one and a half songs”, performed with one of his Bandits on angsty guitar. “I Believe in Elvis Presley”, part spoken word, part litany in barren blues, is a song for which Fallon was recently flown to Nashville to record in Jack White’s studio. In tonight’s rendition, Fallon listed a few of his favorite things, from hallucinogens to LSD to Oscar Wilde and Elvis Presley, topping it off with, yes, The Kills.

Before him, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart were the melodic jolt, a calming, captivating pop segway between bands. On a stage bathed in red hues, they started with a cluster of catchiest songs from their latest release, Belong, and ended with fan favorites, “Contender” and “Come Saturday”, from their debut. –Photos by Alyssa Kazew