I saw The Kills perform just a month ago at Coachella. It appeared that the 102 degree heat managed to suck whatever life they ever had in their performance. Visually, the band looked pretty dismal: boy on guitar, girl on vocals and sometime guitar. The open air venue robbed them of any moody lighting they were hoping to achieve. I left filling unfulfilled and wrote them off as “crap live.” So when Brett invited me to a repeat performance at the Henry Fonda I accepted with trepidation. I was mostly going for human company. The following is my review of the show.
The Horrors are the second band to open. And they are, in fact, aptly named. The lead singer looks like that leggy, unintelligible MTV VJ that appeared babbling nationwide sometime in the 90s mixed with one of the Ramone’s – “the dead one” Brett says. On guitar we have a Partridge family coiffed boy who looks like the French reincarnation of Karen Carpenter before the anorexia really kicked in. I am surrounded by a bunch of torn-tights, black-wearing, fedora-sporting, skinny jean hipsters. These are the “hip” kids. And I can’t help but think that what I am watching on stage right now is the equivalent of an 80s hair band. Like we will all look back on this moment and think, “Oh my god. Weren’t we all such assholes!”
I give up on them about two songs in and head for the back of the room, unwilling to sacrifice what little hearing I have left for this tired nonsense. Brett and Co. soon follow suit and we’ve moved up to the rooftop patio with all of the other people who don’t care what’s going on downstairs either. Brett comments that the lead singer made him feel awkward because he’d just stand there and not do anything but sing. I counter that he did throw his arms up a few times, anointing the audience like a less than fervent televangelist. But these moments were drowned out by the predominance of a lot of affected moving of the hair into the face and away, into and away.
Kristina comes back from the bathroom with what is apparently her second rude encounter with Drew Barrymore.
Kristina: “Sorry, the toilet doesn’t flush.”
Drew: [No response]
This leads her friend Hadley into a verbal montage of his favorite celebrity nocturnal run-ins…which from the sound of it are quite common and very much prized moments.
Hadley: [Mid-handshake] Why do you have such sad eyes?
Katy Perry: [Slowly removing her hand from his] I have a 9 o’clock.
Hadley: A what?
Hadley: You look better!
Mischa Barton: Uh, thanks.
As we leave the patio he tells me that I am “cynical and unhappy.” This is less of a statement and more of a generic aside, like “You must like brown shorts and tangerines.” It seems no one escapes his wrath, celebrity or not. Hadley looks like AJ from Empire Records. He is wearing brown leather pirate boots and a cardigan that I know he’s just dying to put a couple thumb holes through.
When I realize I’ve been standing around for two hours waiting for a band I really don’t want to see in the first place I want to head over to the $10 parking space I purchased and go home. But because I’ve started my personal “Don’t Be So Lame” campaign, I don’t. The curtains part to reveal the same pair of rock and rollers but this time the lights are working in their favor, I am closer to the stage, and the whole production looks a lot damn sexier.
From the very beginning I can’t take my eyes off of the singer. She looks like a badass, shaggy-haired Helena Christensen. They both wear leather and black and are so much cooler than I could ever attempt to be. I don’t take myself seriously enough to be that cool. This variety of sass takes true dedication to art of cool. Three songs deep the pair make an on stage costume change change, swapping their leather jackets for cardigans. It’s about 86 degrees in this room and I think we’d all be better off wearing bathing suits.
Every song is about sexy, overtly or otherwise. She’s breathing hard, he’s breathing hard, the verses repeat and repeat, then crescendo like orgasms. By the end I feel as though I’ve entered into some weird musical red light district. At some point I realize that I’ve been watching the girl the whole time and if I had to pick which of the two to have sex with it would most definitely be her. She spits on stage, knocks over microphones, sweats like mad…but I forgive her all of this. When she lights up a cigarette during a cover of “Crazy” and the curls of smoke float around her black hair I want to pick up smoking. You could have put anything in her hand and I would have bought it: Clorox Bleach, Crest Whitening Strips, Gap Khakis. Whatever. Somehow I have regressed into a bisexual 13 year old.
They play “Black Balloon” toward the end of their set and I am completely satiated. I have had my cake. I have had my icing. I ate the whole damn thing. Not wanting to ruin a good thing, I tell my friends I am heading out. This is apparently an accidentally wise decision. For an encore they brought The Horrors back on stage again and the crowd was subjected to my new girlfriend making out with the Karen Carpenter guitarist – a sight that would have just broken my swollen heart.