A perfect summer Saturday evening in Detroit was made even more perfect-er by the dynamic duo of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, better known as The Kills. The sold out audience was a bit older than I would have imagined. Let’s just say I wasn’t the only shiny bald headed guy in the audience. Since I wore a hat no one could tell, but also because there were several older dudes ready to rock what was left of their hair, off.
Without a doubt, the best thing about the show was the stage presence of The Kills. Alison Mosshart is the lead singer, which most of the Detroit crowd would recognize from the Jack White project, The Dead Weather. She gave an attitude and female power to the show. Mosshart spent most of the set strutting with an undeniable confidence in between belting out the unique distorted vocals she brings to The Kills. Like a female Julian Casablancas, only she didn’t mope around stage as much as Julian tends to. The crowd was hanging on her every movement, too. The smallest little smirk at the audience would send them into a frenzy. There was an admiration for her confidence, from both women and men, and there was no way to hide it. Mosshart was great, but the dynamic between her and lead guitarist Jamie Hince was a genuine connection that added a lot to the performance.
During a handful of the songs, the lyrics would be sung to each other, rather than the crowd. I thought this would be a bit distracting and uncomfortable, like watching a couple in a restaurant makeout (or any other PDA really), but it made the tunes hit another emotional level. Not quite as powerful as a drunken couple performing a duet of the Grease classic “Summer Nights,” but a close second. (The previous sentence was pure sarcasm. In print, this may be hard to pick up on, so I wanted to make it obvious.) Hince and Mosshart are not involved with each other romantically (The internet says so at least), but it could’ve fooled me. They had playful interactions throughout the night you rarely see outside of the first six months of a new romantic relationship, and they have been playing together much longer than that. The two of them together were great, mostly because of the sort of yin of Jamie Hince to Mosshart’s yang.
Hince had the vibe of lead guitarist Matt Bellamy from Muse to me. He was working the stage and encouraging the crowd to give a little more during his guitar solos, just like we have often seen from Bellamy. He also had one of my favorite moments of the night: when he was doing a guitar solo and did a quick hair flip in between before shredding the rest of it. The humor comes from the length of his hair, which could be described as “about as long as a freshly cut lawn.” He did it so quickly I doubt anyone else noticed, but I think it encapsulated who he is and the fun vibe he brings to Mossharts more intense, confident, front woman persona.
The one thing I feel like the show lacked was an apex tune. The one song that everyone knows and can get loose to. They had dozens of tracks the crowd recognized and would get excited for the first few cords, but nothing seemed to hold the audience for the entire song and got the dance floor to come alive. Perhaps this is more of an indictment on the crowd not being the dancing types, but they certainly seemed like they were ready to burst and just never got the chance.
Overall though, this was a really great show with a really great chemistry from the performers.
I had a few “firsts” during the show I wanted to share as well.
The sound guy had grey dread locks, was white and had to be like 65 years old, pretty awesome. I mean I know George Clinton is still rocking his hair like that and has to be roughly that age, but I have never seen a white guy doing the same. May have made my night.
Thanks to an incredible demand for tickets, combined with astronomical secondary ticket market prices, I had no choice but to ride solo. Which I wasn’t really excited for. As somewhat of an introvert, going to a concert without a friend joining would be the equivalent of giving a keynote speech at a Republican Convention. Dear god no.
I will say it wasn’t quite as miserable as I expected, but definitely took away from my experience. The awkward exchanges when I slid into my position in the crowd, the puzzled looks when I jotted a few things down in my notebook, the torture of having endless funny quips throughout the night with no one to share them with. I guess I could’ve told complete strangers my jokes, but that never goes over well for me. Ah well, still had a great band to see.