Published May 09, 2011The last time Alison Mosshart performed at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom, the fiery vocalist was fronting Jack White's garage blues outfit the Dead Weather. This time, she was with longtime Kills collaborator James Hince, and the results were just as explosive.
Before the headliners took the stage, Cold Cave opened the night with a set that combined brash techno with mopey, '80s-infused new wave. Unfortunately, the harsh synths were frequently too jarring to be palatable, and the dance beats didn't inspire more a few bobbing heads in the crowd.
The audience immediately came alive once the Kills took the stage, and the cheers prompted Mosshart to greet the fans, "It's good to see you, too." They opened with the aggressive one-two punch of "No Wow" and "Future Starts Slow," giving the singer plenty of opportunity to snarl and toss her hair while silhouetted by the dramatic back lighting. She and Hince had their microphones set up at opposite ends of the large stage, but they frequently came together thanks to Mosshart's restless prowling.
Hince fired off crunchy, Zeppelin-esque licks during "Heart Is a Beating Drum," while "Kissy Kissy" took a backwoods blues riff and doused it speaker-fried fuzz. This menacing garage rock display took place in front of a massive leopard-print backdrop, which was alternately illuminated with a rainbow of colours or twinkling white lights.
The duo eased back the mayhem only once, during an encore performance of "The Last Goodbye" from the recently released Blood Pressures. Hince ditched his guitar for this keyboard ballad, which found Mosshart in uncharacteristically fragile form, as she crooned, "I can't survive on a half-hearted love that will never be whole."
Whether she's playing with the Kills or the Dead Weather, Mosshart clearly has Vancouver's music fans in the palm of her hand. And by the sound of things, we won't have long to wait until she returns, as she bid the crowd goodbye with a promise: "We'll come back real soon."