TVD Live: The Kills at the Riviera Theatre, 5/23

If I’m being honest my familiarity with The Kills begins and ends with their album, Midnight Boom. I know this is shameful. Since writing this I have become familiar with their catalogue and I now know what I was missing. So, when attending their concert this past Monday at the Riviera Theatre I wasn’t sure what to expect. Their new album won’t be released until next week, but I listened to the singles and watched the new video, yet still felt uncertain–would this be the same band I fell in love with in 2008? I’m happy to say, yes indeed.

Upon entering the theatre I quickly made my way to the front. After seeing Ben Folds here earlier this month and spending the entire show on my tip-toes, I knew if I didn’t arrive early and move fast I might just catch a light show played to a soundtrack of The Kills. Luckily I got within spitting distance from the stage, planted my feet, and stayed there for the rest of the night.

L.A. Witch opened the show creating a great early vibe. I could feel their music run through me and the rest of the crowd felt the same way, swaying to the rhythm. I thought my heart was going to explode as drummer, Ellie English, ferociously banged out each beat. Every measure provided twists and turns aiding the inability to guess where the song would go next. L.A. Witch’s recent EP, “Drive Your Car” is currently available on 7’’ black vinyl.

The Kills strolled onto the stage wearing matching L.A. Witch t-shirts and raising their glasses to the audience. Guitarist, Jamie Hince took pleasure in welcoming fans saying, “You put the ‘chic’ in Chicago.” Mosshart paced in circles eyeing the crowd like a tiger watching her prey. She seemed almost mad then she took the mic and everyone couldn’t stop cheering. This continued throughout the set. When the lights were raised to reveal the audience the two would look out and grin, appreciative of all their fans. It made me want to go home and learn all the words to their songs, just to earn the smile they gave to the front row singing along with their arms outstretched.

I noticed the Riviera Theatre had signs on their doors alerting the crowd of strobe light use. This immediately made me uncomfortable. I was worried I would have to squint the whole show and leave with a headache. But the lights ended up being subtle and necessary. It emphasized all the right notes, flashing color, rippling down onto the stage from above. The Kills knew how to move to the lights. Spinning in circles with their guitars. Strutting across the stage and striking poses. Always finding the spotlight.

The Kills like to tease each other. Rubbing up against each other during a solo, whispering jokes between songs. They teased the audience, too, looking us up and down before cracking up with approval of our excitement. Their confidence is undeniable and well-deserved. They owned every inch of the theatre. Every song was so good you couldn’t tell if it was new or old. The fans kept dancing even if they had never heard the song before. The band glowed as the crowd sang the chorus to their recent single, “Doing it to Death.” Their passion during “U.R.A. Fever” was amazing. It felt like they just wrote the song and were performing it for the first time. And then there was the final moment my heart had waited so many years for, when they closed the show with “Sour Cherry.”

There were no lulls in this show.

The Kills release their fifth album, Ash & Ice on June 3rd. A limited edition version of the album on 2xLP colored vinyl (blue swirl/pink swirl) is currently available for pre-order.

No Wow
U.R.A. Fever
Heart Is a Beating Drum
Kissy Kissy
Hard Habit to Break
Heart of a Dog
Impossible Tracks
Black Balloon
Doing It to Death
Baby Says
Whirling Eye
Siberian Nights
Pots and Pans / Monkey 23

Tape Song
Bitter Fruit
Fried My Little Brains
Sour Cherry

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