The Kills in Toronto 2011 – A Review

May 2, 2011 at 11:27 pm (Uncategorized)

It always seems to be raining whenever I go to the Sound Academy.  Not a big deal except that it makes traversing the parking lot a bit tricky as the place fills up like the Thousand Islands – my shoes are always soaked. And when you’re charging an exorbitant $20 for parking, you might at least have it properly paved.

But I digress. I was at the Sound Academy to see the Kills, one of my favourite bands, play stuff from their new album Blood Pressures. The Kills were in Toronto two years ago at the smaller Phoenix. Since then the band has been overshadowed by Allison Mossart and Jamie Hince’s solo projects – The Dead Weather in the case of Mosshart and Kate Moss in the case of Hince.  Which is a shame, since the Kills are a truly great band.

I got the show about 7:50, just in time to join the line for the merch counter (?)  I don’t think I’ve ever had to stand in line at a show to buy a t-shirt before. It all seemed to work well though, and from the band’s point of view it’s smart: much less hubbub (so less chance of things being stolen), and audience members are more likely to buy something if they’ve waited twenty minutes to get to the front of the line. I was tempted to buy a tour poster, but it was little rich for my blood, and I walked away with a few badges.

It’s hard to be an opening band. Your job is to warm up the crowd, who for the most part, are not there to see you. But should you be too good, you’re likely to get encounter the hostility of the headliners or at worse get kicked off the tour. It’s not a enviable position to be in.

The Entrance Band (hardly an inspiring name to be sure) took the stage about 8:15. The band is from Baltimore and played a kind of laid-back heavy rock. lots of guitar and extended jams.  They received polite applause from the audience who had gathered early, but it always seems to me that there’s something wrong when the band is having more fun than the audience. The Entrance Band played a thirty minute set in which they spoke to the audience exactly twice. Both times to say, “We’re the Entrance band.”

9:15 and Cold Cave came on. I know it’s lazy writing to say this band sounds like that band, but to my ears  they sounded an awful lot like Depeche Mode. As poppy as the Entrance Band were rockist,  they bopped around for about forty minutes in a haze of blue smoke receiving quite a bit more applause than the openers.  

The Kills hit the stage around 10:10 starting their set with the title track of 2005’s No Wow.  As befitting their sound the Kills stage was sparsely decorated. A simple leopard print backdrop with scattered sparkles was the only prop, and for fifty minutes they played a bluesy-punk set that had the audience singing along, enjoying every moment.  

The band drew from all four of their albums, although No Wow was the only song from their second album. They played eight of the eleven songs from their new album, and if they songs took a while to grow on disc, there was no problem live. The effect was immediate.  

My only complaint, and this is a complaint that says you did a good job, was it was too short. The regular set was a little shy of an hour, and although it was a three song encore, it felt short. (also, why no “Pale Blue Eyes” ? The version they recorded for Levis Sessions is superlative). But hey, nothing’s perfect. A great Sunday night

Set list

No Wow
Future Starts Slow
Heart is a Beating Drum
Kissy Kissy
U.R.A. Fever
DNA
Satellite
Tape Song
Baby Says
Superstition
You Don’t Own the Road
Sour Cherry

Encore

The Last Goodbye
Pots and Pans
Fried My Little Brains

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