The Kills wrapped up the final West Coast shows of their world tour in support of their fourth album, Blood Pressures at the Mayan Theatre Tuesday. It was the first show of my concert photographing career that I was elbow-to-elbow with other budding photographers in the photo pit (as opposed to being alongside the rest of the crowd), and it was even more exhilarating that this moment was shared photographing one of my very favourite bands ever. I shot in colour digitally and in black and white film—an amorous nod to The Kills’ soon-to-be released photo book by Kenneth Cappello Dream and Drive where the forward by Alison Mosshart proudly states that the entire book, which spans the bands’ 10-year history, was all shot on film.
Normally a two-piece minimalistic ensemble playing along to a drum machine, the shows at the Mayan featured live backing vocals and a four-person drum corp. playing with the band. I loved the fuller sound. The opening song “No Wow” proved to be a real trigger-happy moment for me as I fired off so many shots within a short span. Then came the 2nd song, “Future Starts Slow” (the first tune on their fourth album, Blood Pressures) where I got lost in the moment and started singing along and pumping my fist in the air, forgetting that I was there to photograph. Singer Alison Mosshart is a force not to be fucked with. She prances around the stage like a cheetah sneaking up on its prey, attacking the microphone with each rhyme and rhythm. Her musical partner, Jamie Hince, is just as theatrical and commanding of attention. It’s no lie, whenever I attend a Kills show, it’s “the Jamie Hince side” I always beeline my way to and the Mayan show was no exception.
Once we reached our “first two songs, no flash” photo op for the night, I made my way out of the photo pit to the back of the relatively tiny Mayan Theatre to watch the rest of the show. Clap heavy song “Black Rooster” was a special stand out for me watching the drum corp clapping the main beat. I tried to keep up, but the timing is so odd, I couldn’t quite stay in sync with them. “Pots and Pans” was also a particular stand out thanks to the heavy toms, loud bluesy guitar, and live backing vocals. We were also treated to Velvet Undergrounds’ “Pale Blue Eyes”, before “Fuck the People” meshed with the beautiful “Monkey 23” brought the night to a close.
The Kills, both as a band and as individuals have come a long way from their early beginnings of sharing a squat in London making LoFi recordings and art. With four albums and one book backing them up, it’ll be interesting to see where The Kills will take us on the 2nd decade of their career.