The Kills / Modey Lemon / The Rocks - Barfly
It’s a measure of The Kills success that they’ve not only sold this place out, but created something of a buzz about the night. It’s even compared by a DJ from XFM who gives previously unheard depths and meanings to the word ‘cheesy’.
But first, we get the effortless histrionics of The Rocks who, if this show is anything to go by, this will be the last time they open for anyone. They are utterly superb, mixing showmanship with wonderful songs that actually linger in the head after they've been played. A mix of Stooges like rock 'n' roll combined with showmanship that the Ig of old would have been proud off. Frontman James Rocks is almost the definition of the word, immaculately dressed in suit jacket and white shirt, and climbing the walls in a frenzy. The songs have a wonderful sense of vaudeville about them, and occasionally drift into full-blown fifties style meanderings, hardly surprising, as they cite Sinatra as an influence. See them if you get the chance.
If The Rocks are wannabe Stooges then it's difficult to know who Modey Lemon wish to be. That's a good thing. This three piece from the glamorous world of Pittsburgh are full of surprises. They look like Nirvana, but sound like Motorhead with a healthy dash of Hawkwind running throughout. It's a powerful noise, with mighty, thundering power chords that are undermined by the constant whirling of Moog synthesizers and the like. At times, they wander effortlessly into the dangerously still waters of the Prog rock, but effortlessly bring it back to more chaotic territory. And they finish the set with a great bout of instrument wrecking. Lovely and it looked off the cuff as well. It's always the drums that go first, which is a pity, but fitting as The Kills don't need them anyway. Modey Lemon are Interesting and definitely worth keeping an eye on. Closest modern comparison would be Oceansize, if Oceansize had listened to The Ramones a bit more.
So then, The Kills and what a wonderful duo these are. You can instantly tell when someone is faking the rock 'n' roll lifestyle and The Kills are no fakes. It's written in their eyes, the lines on CC's face and the interesting wardrobe that belongs to Hotel. Tonight, it's black cowboy boots and yellow leapardskin leggings while CC sticks to the usual black jacket, fully zipped up, for the fashion watchers out there.
Sound problems take the edge off the first couple of songs, but to their credit, and as an example of how much charisma they have, they manage to take things in their stride. It bothers them not in the slightest. By the time the guitar cranks up for a raucous rendition of Cat Claw everything is falling into place nicely. An empty stage, backlit with photographs filled with that grating, sliding guitar that seems to infect the air around it with a sickness. They even grace us with a few new songs, titles unknown, but they seem to be experimenting a bit more with krautrock influences, with the drum track used in a more jarring, spiky way that seems to lead the song a bit more, rather than sit underneath the guitar as it normally does.
Highlight, tonight, is an emotional and intense version of Monkey 23 which they perform inches apart and staring each other out. It's intensity spreads and creates an extremely powerful live and bare moment. It's quite exceptional. Other standouts include an excellent, fully charged steam through of Fuck The People which seems to be becoming a bit of an anthem. Just one encore, and away they go.
The Kills are one of the great hopes for music this year. If the new stuff is anything to go by, they might just be capable of coming up with this years' killer album. Something that'll blow your head off, and laugh while it does so. Their last effort is reviewed here, and your urged to check them out, if you've yet to do so.