September 9, 2011
Fox Theater, Oakland
Better Than: Being at an actual fashion show.
"Is it me, or were they coked up to the eyeballs? I thought he was gonna keel over and die."
These are the first thoughts of a woman exiting Oakland's Fox Theater on Friday night, after watching The Kills' occasionally thrilling, sometimes flat, but persistently impersonal set. Whether intoxication is a factor or not, something is definitely off with Jamie Hince's performance tonight -- an issue most obvious in his problem with repeatedly false-starting songs.
Alison Mosshart is in better form for the most part, having grown in confidence enormously since the duo first started performing a decade ago. Tonight, she is a headbanging, hip-swaying, prowling and ferocious rock 'n' roll goddess, and the crowd is utterly enamored with her from the get-go. All she has to do to prompt giant roars of approval from the audience is stand on a monitor or slip a guitar on. And it's a good thing portions of this room are so thrilled by such small actions tonight, given how little interaction we actually get from the band.
Thankfully, tonight is peppered with fantastic moments, too, most of which are thanks to the spark and dynamism that occurs every time Hince and Mosshart face each other and share vocal duties -- "Kissy Kissy" smolders with chemistry, the distortion-heavy "U.R.A Fever" is sensational, and "D.N.A." is compulsive viewing. That's not to say that Mosshart can't take care of business on her own -- opener "No Wow" is all about her, "Heart Is A Beating Drum" is electrifying, and encore "Last Goodbye" is the most beautiful moment of the night.