Man, was Monday rough. Still hurting from Sunday's unexpected debacle, I got back from "work" and immediately passed out for a couple hours. This did not help things. I got up 8ish, drank about 64 Gatorades, and drove over to MHOW. Fuck.
This would be the third time I've seen The Kills live, with the first time being in September '06 at Southpaw, for what (if I'm remembering correctly) was basically a one-off show (not part of a full tour or nuthin'). I remeber this being an excellent show, and VV and Hotel played the part of fucked-up derelicts to the hilt; I remember remarking at the time that that was the most fried I'd seen an onstage performer since Trey Anastasio's infamous meltdown at Coventry. But fuck it, when The Kills do it it actually adds to the intensity and the drama of their garage / blues / beatpunk jams. Next time I saw them was May '08 at Webster Hall for a Midnight Boom -heavy set, which was interrupted by the NYFD when Webster Hall apparently CAUGHT ON FIRE. Despite me (and, presumably, other members of the sold-out audience) remembering this, nobody fucking budged, which was odd. Good set although it woulda been gooder if the bastards at Webster Hall would have turned on the AC.
But back to the present. The evening's first band was Magic Wands whom I had seen with Young Knives last year at Mercury Lounge. It's pretty rare that a headlining band (in this case, The Kills) chooses an opening band that's so shamelessly copping their aesthetic (in this case, Magic Wands), but there you have it. Still totally exhausted, I was not the least bit in the mood for this, heading upstairs and sitting the f down. I did notice this time around that Magic Wands' music leans a lot on '80s teen pop influences, from the lyrics to the piped-in synth.
Next up were British post-punkers The Horrors, for whom I actually chose to stand up. The music was fairly generic post-punk fare, with the most distinguishing characteristic being the tall, gangly singer's monotone barking singing style. Nothing terribly interesting here, but at least they got my head bobbing. (Directly following their set, an overenthusiastic dude who had apparently misjudged my enthusiasm grabbed me by the arm and exclaimed "fucking GENIUS!" which was funny in its sheer wrongness.)
After about 20 minutes, The Kills came onstage and from the intro beats of "URA Fever," the house was sufficiently rocked. There's really not another group I've ever seen that has a similar stage presence to The Kills, as it's tough to pull off tough / cool / sexie bit without seeming really really insincere, but they succeed. Indeed, no one on the corner quite matches VV and Hotel's swagger. Musically, the evening's biggest surprises were a cover of "Crazy" (yes, the Patsy Cline song) and a dark take on "I Put a Spell on You," with the highlights for me being "No Wow" and "Hook and Line" (no, they didn't play "The Good Ones"). Non-musically, there was some genuine oddness caused by an incredibly aggressive heckler. At first Hotel repelled by jabbing him in the forehead with his guitar neck, but eventually the dude (who as it turned out had ripped jeans making his ass visible) made it onstage, making a halfhearted attempt at chasing VV before being tossed offstage by a roadie with a sickening/hilarious thud. Weird shit.