From the pounding kick of the synthetic drum, I knew that I was going to get that feeling. You know how the nose feels when you get punched directly in the face? A sharp pain races like Michael Johnson up to your brain, which is having a problem of finding out what in hellís dark name just happened. That exact feeling transfixed my body Monday night at the Empty Bottle in Chicago when VV and Hotel, the steamy couple known as the The Kills, took the stage at around 11:30. I grew up in south Florida listening to VVís (Alison Mosshart) first band, Discount. They amassed a small army at the venue that shoved punk rock up my arse and into my heart at The Old Schoolhouse in Fort Pierce, before moving north to Gainesville, where they released a few keepers before disbanding in 2000.
Developed by mad scientists in a Florida lab, VV resembled Wednesday Addams and Winona Ryderís troublesome character in Beetlejuice. A striking poster child for heroin abuse if I ever saw one, the lanky waif kept sliding out of her blues, while a white long sleeve shirt with black inmate stripes hugged her twig-like body. The girl behind the VV alias, Mosshart glided through the packed house before the set, head down on the ground either avoiding eye contact with her fans or trying to find loose change to buy a drink. The singer resembled a scared little puppy, walking with a slight hunched parade. But honey child, let me hit you with some top notch fat to chew on, when this girl takes the stage, she bad. Flailing along to Hotelís stabbing guitars, VV always kept a cigarette lit and the stage moist with spit. Back and forth, up and down, I thought that I was going to have to stick a wooden spoon in her mouth.
I truly believe that these two made love on stage...to the music and to each other. The audience was just along to watch, kind of like the audience in Boogie Nights who were watching Little Billís (William H. Macy) wife spanking hams with some dude in the alley. When Hotel played a chord, VV acted as his cobra, entranced and purely elated by the erotic noise emitting from Hotelís guitar/wind pipe. I didnít recognize the first two songs (pompous indie rock alert) because I havenít gotten it sent to me yet, and I refuse to pay for a fucking CD, but that matters zilch at this moment in time, as the pair whizzed through two sleazy, hypnotic numbers. Hotel, visually comparable to Vivian from The Young Ones minus the orange locks, made a habitual choice to mouth words to the anchored crowd and in his head I think he was under the impression that we could understand him.
When I saw VV spit I thought, if I licked that up, would anyone think I was crazy? Then I realized that the duo were smack dab into ìCat Claw,î which is on both the full length, Keep On Your Mean Side, and the Black Rooster EP. ìGot it, I want it, Got it, I want itî became the new theme song in my brain for the rest of the evening, repeating louder and more haunting, every time I began to daydream on the ride home. As the heated show continued, weird phone calls, presumably recorded when the two were apart sending demo tapes to one another, added to the consuming ritual of the evening. ìFried My Little Brains,î ìFuck The People,î ìBlack Roosterî were some of the smoking hot hits that I remembered inhaling.
To quote that famous TLC album title in a cheesy but effective way, The Kills are Crazy, Sexy, Cool. Thanks to Rough Trade and Dim Mak, two labels that are really kicking out mega fucking cool music right now, for letting me fall victim to The Kills.
Source: Jason Anfinsen