THE KILLS: Roundhouse. 7th October 2016

8 10 2016


The thing about the aftermath of a gig is the comedown that ruins you. For those couple of hours when you’re crammed in a room full of people who are there with the same motives and thoughts as you is comforting. It becomes your own little world. A world you normally create within the walls of your mind, and in your bedroom. For those few hours you’re not on your own, you feel like you’re home. That’s the power and that’s the beauty of live music. It gives us all a place.

The Roundhouse is a venue I’ve never really felt anything towards. I’m not into big venues. I last went there last year to see Patti Smith and I had a great time. Last night, I saw The Kills on the last date of their UK tour. Was it the best place to see them? Yes. Easily. I saw them 8 days before on the opening night of the tour in Manchester, and even though they’ve been on the road for so long, their show last night looked as if they were just getting started.

Their set is made up of tender moments such as when Alison rests her head on Jamie’s shoulder at the end of Pots And Pans. To when he glides over to her holding his gun like a weapon, then facing it onto the crowd. The way they look at each other, the way they scale the crowd with their eyes, how Jamie is easily the best guitarist I’ve ever seen, how Alison bends her body backwards during Whirling Eye and you think she’s about to snap, how Alison stalks the stage- all these moments and more lock you in. You know where to look. But are you aware of how it’s going to make you feel?
There is something truly, truly special about seeing your favourite band live. Being at the front and one of them look at you as they sing a song you love. You wish you could thank them for these moments- so, I guess writing this is my thank you. Eyes locked and a line from Hard Habit To Break is sung at me. Aware but unaware. I can keep that moment locked somewhere forever.
The set is similar to Manchester but along the way they’ve added songs- they added Love Is A Deserter and Let It Drop. I hadn’t given much attention to Let It Drop, but sometimes when you witness a song live, it changes your view on it. The lyrics are great, and I’m not sure why I’ve not played it as much as others off Ash & Ice.

Let’s go back to the tender moments of the show. For the encore, Alison takes to the stage to perform That Love. A heartbreaker of a song, but if your mind is in a rut, play it and it will help. Trust me. I mean, you’ll cry but that’s okay. What comes after That Love? The Last Goodbye. I’ve always had a hard time listening to that song, and for a period of time when Blood Pressures came out, that song meant the world to me. It in a sense, became my world. For sentimental reasons, that record was my glue for a long time. I thought seeing it live would just break my heart. I’m not in that place anymore, so why would it? Because the lyrics are gorgeous. I don’t know where Alison goes in her mind when she sings this, but there’s no way I could do it. Despite all that, it was truly a beautiful song to finally see live. The lyrics are just beautiful, and the care and feeling that is within them is mind blowing.
The set ends with Sour Cherry. The perfect song to end on (check the lyrics.) But you just don’t want it to be over. It is over far too soon. You feel as if it has just started, and it is done.

The Kills are a band that have no bounds with regard to who is a fan of theirs or who goes to their shows. There is a beautiful mixture of people at their shows irrespective of age, gender, race etc. There’s just nothing there to pin point what kind of person loves this band, and that shows the power they have. It’s amazing to be part of, and as mentioned many times before, being in that moment where it’s just you, them and others who love them as much as you- it makes nothing matter. All that matters is the music.

The gentle songs like Echo Home break your heart (the lyrics are perfect) are intertwined with rowdy limb flailing Whirling Eye to U.R.A Fever. When you think you know what you’re going to get, they upper cut you and you are constantly left in awe. Your head is swimming, jaw on the floor and you want more, and more. I could quite happy watch them play every night and cling on to this feeling as tight as I possibly can. There’s no replica for this. You can’t substitute it for something else.
Your favourite band will always be your world. Live music will always be a way to escape whatever you need, and part of the escapism is finding something you need. And when you get it, cling. Cling. The Kills are medicine for the mind, body and soul. They create moments for you to live in. You feel powerful with their words ringing in your ear. Everyone does mention this bond they have, and it is truly one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see. 

I could quite happily write thousands and thousands of words about them and their live shows, but words don’t do any of it justice at all.

*all photos from the show are mine.





THE KILLS: Albert Hall, Manchester. 29th September 2016.

30 09 2016

I’ve had next to no sleep so what you are about to read is the ramblings of someone who has trouble sleeping at the best of times, but this time it is coming from a better place. 
In 2003 I remember vividly sitting in my room with my ears pressed again my stereo. Not too loud because I had school the next day and of course, I didn’t want my mum to know I was still awake. I was listening to a John Peel show and he had a band called The Kills doing a session. They did Gypsy Death & You, and I was hooked. A few years later I would name this blog after that. And over the years, that song became my crutch. It still is. I saw them live in 2008 at The Sugarmill in Stoke. I was right at the front and my mind was blown and I was in a daze as I looked up at the two people I absolutely idolise. Move forward 8 years and after missing out in the years between due to circumstances out of my hands, I saw them last night in Manchester.
The setlist was perfect. They are perfect and this was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It’s the way they look at each other, it’s the way Alison bends herself in a way that makes you think she’s going to snap, it’s the way Jamie holds his guitar like a machine gun and aims at us. It’s the way that they put everything into it and you cannot help but stare at them in awe. You just don’t know who to watch.


There’s so much importance within their songs for me and it’s the songs that you can probably say, saved a life a few times. Their music has been keeping me sane for well over a decade and from them, I’ve learnt that you just need one person on your side and all is alright.
There’s a moment in the set where Jamie stands at the front with his guitar and at the end, Alison lovingly kisses his shoulder and it’s moments like this that make you see just how beautiful their friendship is. He walks up to her as she sings, strutting with his guitar in a way that looks like a big brother endearingly winding up their little sister. They look at each other with an emotion that not everyone gets to experience, and when you do- you just know.
The setlist is perfect, it truly is. In an ideal world they would play each record from start to finish and I’d just stand all day watching them, ha. Their is a brilliant mix of all 5 records, and hearing Dead Road 7 live is something that leaves you with goosebumps all over. 
For the encore, Alison takes to the stage on her own and does That Love. I remember when I got my copy of the new record, Ash & Ice and before I played it, I read the lyrics. I had the record next to me to place on my record player, and I sat and studied the lyrics first. I always do this. I read the lyrics to That Love and instead of playing it all in order, I went straight for that song. The words meant something at the time and gave me something I needed. This can be said for a lot of their songs. To hear it stripped back like this was truly gorgeous and we got to see just how strong her voice is. 

There is something special about the way they perform Siberian Nights and Fried My Little Brains. It just leaves you again, with goosebumps all over and the inability to speak afterwards. They are truly mind-blowing to watch, for so many reasons. Songs like Tape Song and Black Balloon give you courage and the beauty in Baby Says just leaves you frozen. 


As I watched Alison stalk the stage like a lioness waiting on their prey, and how she moves across the stage looking at the crowd-how she performs reminds me so much of the greats such as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith. The ones who are fearless and captivating. I looked at Jamie and all I could think was, “you make it look so easy.” And again, I just wished I could play the guitar. His machine gun stance and her prowling are just the perfect combination. It goes beyond music, it always has. Their shows are made up of moments that the person watching will take with them forever. Moments that become so sacred to them. At times you also feel you are looking in on something private yet exposed at their shows, and I think that it part of what lures you in and makes you unsure of where to look. They don’t need to engage with small talk to the crowd, they really don’t. Their music and the looks on their faces do it all. That for me, makes them tower over most. That for me just explains everything I love about them. The music says it all. Always has, always will. It’s just so powerful and enthralling.

At 1am this morning, after waiting in the rain since the show ended and after waiting 13 years- I met Alison Mosshart. I didn’t by no means get to tell her what I wanted/needed to, and maybe one day in the future our paths will cross again and I can tell her. But I met her. I met the person I have looked up to for so long, and when this happens something inside of you changes. The same feeling I got when I met Patti Smith hit me-but without the ugly crying. For me, this show had so much sentimental value for reasons you, dear reader, you don’t need to know. Maybe you already know why. I could write so much more about last night, but I’ll save it up for the next show.

Meet your heroes. Go watch them play. I’m seeing The Kills again a week today in London. The first and last show. My brain will be fried once more.

*photos of the show taken by me. 





THE KILLS: Lyrics.

23 04 2016

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I remember first hearing Keep On Your Mean Side 13 years ago- I instantly knew I had found a home in this loud, manic and powerful sound. I knew that I had found a band that for as long as they made music, they would be always with me. They would be the soundtrack to good and bad moments. Moments that I’ll never forget and moments I partially wish I could. By no means am I tough, but when I listen to The Kills I always feel braver than I am. And just like Nick Cave, they talk about love and all that comes with it in a way that I can fully identify with. I cannot get my head around songs that are full of wanting to be with someone all the time, the sunshine and rainbows- I want the darker side- the mean side. It’s more honest. I’m surprised I’ve never delved into the lyrics of The Kills. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, there are times where it could have been the right moment but I missed out because I got in the way of my own doing so. So here I am. Saturday 23rd April at 4:10pm with nothing better to do than sit and listen to the sounds of my all-time favourite duo. The band that keep me sane. I’m going to try narrow this down to 10 lines that mean the most to me, but please be assured that there are more than 10. I’m doing this blind but the last two I mention are solid. They’ve always been there.

“If I’m so evil, why are you satisfied?” (Rodeo Town) – This is one of the lines where it’s not what is sung, but how it is sung. I love how tired Alison’s voice sounds. As if someone is at the end of arguing with someone that possibly can’t pull away from. It’s one of my favourite songs by The Kills, and definitely my favourite off No Wow. We all think we’re beyond bad at times, and it leads us to question those around us. I’ve always felt fine with questioning everything and everyone- I mean for the most part it is done in the comfort in my mind, but you know. Rodeo Town always reminds me of a road trip gone a bit askew- but hey, where’s the pleasure in things not being slightly chaotic?

 

“Send your love in a rampage, give her everything you’ve got. And when you come to hate her, show her more than just a spark.” (Heart Is A Beating Drum) Maybe I should have just quoted the whole song here, every line is just perfect and one of the strongest moments on Blood Pressures. I’ve got so much sentimental value attached to this record, and I know I’ve got to let it go when the new one comes out. I’ll be fine just doing so. I adore the lyrics to this because it just sums up the fury of love, lust and god knows what else we subject ourselves to. I toyed with using, “And you feel like you’ve been here so many times before. It’s not the door you’re using but the way you’re walking through it” for me that’s a golden life motto to keep with you, it’s like being told to just get on. Easier said than done for most, but this song was a crutch for a long time and it was that line that played a massive part. However, the line I did choose to use is the one that is full of something quite wonderfully sinister. Show the person why you can no longer stand them, it’s totally fine. Sometimes you just have to be quite furious with the emotions you send on to another person. Don’t hold back.

“Lipstick letters and souvenirs, make a mockery of your fears.” (Hook And Line) One of my favourites off Midnight Boom is Hook And Line. I love how the verses are quite gentle then the hook of, “With your hook and line, I still blow away” comes right on in like a madman and smacks you right in the face. I’ve been thinking about this song a lot recently, and I had it on repeat at the gym the other evening when I was struggling to stay motivated. The line I’ve chosen again, is one I love how it sung and the idea of ripping apart what fills us with fear is always appealing. I always wish they made a video to this song, I reckon it would have been something else. There’s a lot of wild imagery in the song that could have been brought to life in such a captivating way. I love that before this song on the record, you’ve got Last Day Of Magic. That song alone I could write about but the things I’d write are too personal. “My little tornado, my little hurricano.” I could, but I won’t.

“Superstition is, your modern eye. With original skin, and original lie.” (Superstition) I’ve watched many live performances of this song online, and it’s one that makes you firmly believe that Jamie and Alison are truly out of this world with the music they make. I love the burning rage in the guitar that goes along with Alison’s scream/groan towards the end of the song. It’s a perfect noise and when you’ve seen it live (online or physically) it stays with you. They both seem possessed and you feel like you’re intruding on something you shouldn’t be. That’s what I love about them. They’ve got this bond that you can only dream of having. If you ever experience it, don’t fuck it up. I remember hearing this song for the first time and just being in awe of the noise I was hearing. I think that’s part of the attraction with Keep On Your Mean Side. It’s a proper noisy record and it just stays with you, you always go back to it.

“What a mess a little time makes to us when time and place collide.” (Satellite) I was going to go with “I loved her too long, don’t love her too” but right now, I’m siding with the first line mentioned. I love this song to pieces. I love the slight reggae feel to the guitar, I love the video and how it makes you want to hit the road, I love the lyrics. I adore the lyrics to this song so much and it’s pretty hard to describe why, but they speak for themselves don’t they? They’re great lyrics that I think anyone can relate to if they dig a little deeper than usual. When time and place do collide, it does have the potential to leave something disastrous in the mind, and that’s what I love about that line. It exposes how chaotic things can be- in mind and body. I’d happily go off on a tangent about this song, but I probably wouldn’t be able to reel myself back in. It just does something to you when you hear it. I love that they both sing it, and Jamie makes the guitar sound like a lightning bolt going right through you.

 

“These are the days we’ll never forget, when the dawn dawns on you.” (Pots And Pans) I was going to go with something from The Last Goodbye but I realised it was too much to take on in one little paragraph. If you don’t know why, just read the lyrics. They are heart breaking, and they automatically make you feel like you’ve had your heart torn out. It’s a brutally honest song, and I really couldn’t do it justice by writing about it. Pots And Pans closes Blood Pressures and it’s the most perfect ending. It feels like a hymn, some kind of ethereal experience that is saved for last. It all comes together as Alison sings the line I picked out. It repeats over and over, like a holy mantra to get you through. It’s to keep you going until the next record, until next time. At first I wasn’t sure about how I felt towards this song. At times I felt it was too slow or something stupid, but I ended up playing it on repeat when I got to the end of the record. Maybe it was my brain saying, “it’s not over, it can’t be-play it again.” I go back to this song a lot, for whatever reason. It makes you feel alright with not having much to offer someone or something, and I think that’s something most can relate to.

“Elevator straight into my skull. The escalator rises as it falls.  I swear our jet is crashing in my mind, you can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time.” (Black Balloon) The whole song. The whole damn song. From start to finish is just beautiful, sad and honest. I love the line, “Let the weather have its way with you” but I had to go with the opening verse because it’s one of the saddest and most truthful lyrics I’ve ever heard. For me it’s on a par with the genius of I Know It’s Over by The Smiths. It’s got that brutal honesty that gets you right in the gut, and I can’t think of a time where Black Balloon has not been relevant. The sadness in “You can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time” is so overpowering, you don’t know what to do with yourself when you hear it. The whole song is just a beautiful description of knowing something is done but whoever else is involved is probably oblivious to it. Sometimes you’re oblivious to it, and this song lets you know what’s up.

 “No longing for the moonlight, no longing for the sun. No longer will I curse the bad I’ve done.” (Future Starts Slow) I think it’s pretty obvious how much I am in love with Blood Pressures, but Future Starts Slow was as if someone was coming full speed at you with this thumping drum sound and machine gun guitar- it charges at you, and when the vocals kick in that’s it. It calms down in places then picks right back up. It’s such a great way to start the record off, and the line I’ve picked is possibly my favourite lyric by The Kills. Ever. Have I already said that? If I have, then I’ve changed my mind. If I haven’t, then all is okay. It’s the no longer cursing all the bad- for me that’s just a brilliant way of accepting everything and carrying on. This song makes you feel tough and as if you can do anything. But let’s be honest, you can do anything because when you stick on your favourite song- anything is possible. I told a little lie when I said I had 2 solid favourites- I’ve got 3, and this is one of them.

“Baby says for all I’ve forsaken make something of all the noise, and the mess you’re making. And all the time’s it’s taken.” (Baby Says) Last one off Blood Pressures. For me, this song carries a wealth of imagery that is free for the listener to conjure up. Baby can be a person you’ve met. Baby can be an image or thought in your mind, but Baby makes you feel alright with what you’ve done so long as you make something out of it. It’s one of the most powerful songs on the record, and one of the songs I wish I had written. Any time I write something, this is one of the songs I have in mind. It’s got this innocence to it that isn’t found so often. Baby Says is a strong sense of reassurance, and I’m forever grateful to The Kills that this song exists. It means a hell of a lot, and if I ever met them I’d probably try rustle this out of myself to let them know.

“Jailers in my mind are all dead. I love you so much, never forget.” (Goodnight Bad Morning) Around 2010/2011 I was having issues with sleeping and being a functioning adult. I’d go to bed at 3 and be awake at 7. I was able to disguise being stuck in a rut quite well, but that’s all in the past now along with other things. It has that Lou Reed greatness to it.  This song would be what I would play when I was trying to fall asleep. It’s gentle and it’s pure. It’s apt and aimed- but that’s not up for discussion. It’s such a beautiful song that once you hear it, it stays with you. Again, it’s a perfect song to close a record with. It makes you feel at the end, that you’ve drifted off somewhere. Maybe to sleep, maybe to a place in your mind where nothing else gets to you. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, and I do compare a lot of things to how this song makes me feel and think. It’s got a lot of nostalgic and sentimental value. I did have a slight blip where I couldn’t listen to the song- but I realised I was being a daft swine, and got a grip. When I listen to it now, for the most part all I see in my head is the way Jamie and Alison look at each other when they perform this. The song is like the sun coming up when all has been weird before- like you can start over. And sometimes, that’s all you can do. It’s all you should do.

 

It’s now 5:30pm, and all I can now think about are the songs I typically did not mention. Good job the new record is out soon.