The Kills - The Observatory - 8/9/12

Categories: Last Night

Ryan Cox
The Kills

BY: Ryan Cox
See Also:
*Free Ticket Tuesday: The Kills at the Observatory
*Iron Maiden - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater - 8/9/12
*Of Monsters and Men - The Observatory - 8/8/12

The Kills
 The Observatory

I was shocked to find out that The Kills didn't sell out The Observatory last night in Santa Ana, especially since it was their first Orange County performance outside of The Glass House in Pomona a while back. Could it be that the two sold-out shows next week at The Mayan in Los Angeles and the their appearance at Outside Lands this weekend in San Francisco could have left them a little overexposed for the time being? Doubtful-- their fans are a loyal bunch and you could hear them trying to one-up each other on how many times they've seen them and how more times they were planning to catch their shows in the coming week. Maybe it was just an off night.

Though I always try to come early for the opening acts, I was sad to have only caught the tail end of The Black Bananas' set. From what I could hear walking in, a strong, raspy, female vocalist was blaring through the speakers followed by a loud cheer. A pretty good response from the audience I would say, especially since this was the first stop as the support for the headliners. Unfortunately, I'll have to catch them another time. YouTube them, they're good. It was hard not to be excited when the house lights came up and the stage was being set for The Kills. A black, leopard print backdrop, four drum kits and a ton of strobes; we were in for a treat. At about half past nine, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince took stage and shit went down. The boisterous audience presented the band with a welcoming scream that only ceased once Hince played the first chords of "No Wow" off their 2005 record of the same name. This high energy continued until the band played "Pots and Pans" and exited off the stage for a short period before the obvious upcoming encore.

Ryan Cox
Alison Mosshart

I think "The Last Goodbye" was the hit that everyone was waiting to hear. Once Mosshart belted out that last line, people around the bar began to dissipate. Luckily, the same couldn't be said for the floor as it remained packed until the rock duo and four percussionists took their final bow and exited the stage after this energetic 80-minute set. That's right, four drummers. Throughout the show, they moved in unison, almost hidden by the smoke in the background. The flickers of light made their movements more dramatic and dark, but I think that was the point. It was like a cooler version of the Blue Man Group and I think the music was wayyy better.

Everything flowed together nicely in the night's production. It seemed as if every song had a different light theme and at one point, all of the strobes began to flash in unison and I found myself looking away. It was pretty intense, but worth the possible epileptic episode because I had just had my The Kills live show cherry popped!

Critics Bias: My hetero crush on Alison Mosshart was only amplified as I saw her own that stage during the performance. Rawr.

Crowd: No real type. A younger bunch; but a good mixture of hipsters, preppies and girls taking pictures of themselves and posting on Instagram during the show.

Overheard: People were freaking out because Kelly Osborne had apparently been seen in the building. Friends later confirmed this by sending me messages via social media to be on the look out. Blah.

Random Notebook Dump: I don't recommend standing next to the bar in the back- it's really distracting when there is a show going on in The Constellation Room at the same time. You'll feel like you're in a musical crossfire.

Set List:
No Wow
Future Starts Slow
Heart is a Beating Drum
 Kissy Kissy
Baby Says
Black Balloon
Tape Song
 Last Day of Magic
You Don't Own the Road
 Pots and Pans

Last Goodbye
Pull A U
Fuck the People
Monkey 23

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The Kills manage corporate and fashion industry fame with some aplomb, somehow not getting totally lost in the process.  Black Bananas, on the other hand, are drenched in cred, massively influential to those with antennae, yet Herrema and co. are seemingly indifferent to luring the rank and file (aside from agreeing to appear with The Kills). In a few years, say, oh, three, it will come as no surprise to experience more Herrema/McKinley/Midness imitators growling and prowling in humble yet cynical imitation.



The Kills were good but Black Bananas were better and without all the  overstated posing. Jennifer Herrema is the fkn Queen of rock and even Alison knows it...she takes all her moves from Jennifer. I overheard one girl saying "hey that girl (alison) acts just like the first chick (jennifer) on stage" Every critic in the world knows that Alison has been apeing Jennifers look and stage presence since Royal Trux but it was overwhelming seeing the two girls in the same night. Jennifer is effortless Alison is trying hard as hell and that's the big difference.


Yes Wow! The percussion blew this performance wide open. Four drummers during the show plus Alison on one song. The sound mix was awesome. She is the rockin'ist chick I have ever seen.

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