I’ve had next to no sleep so what you are about to read is the ramblings of someone who has trouble sleeping at the best of times, but this time it is coming from a better place.
In 2003 I remember vividly sitting in my room with my ears pressed again my stereo. Not too loud because I had school the next day and of course, I didn’t want my mum to know I was still awake. I was listening to a John Peel show and he had a band called The Kills doing a session. They did Gypsy Death & You, and I was hooked. A few years later I would name this blog after that. And over the years, that song became my crutch. It still is. I saw them live in 2008 at The Sugarmill in Stoke. I was right at the front and my mind was blown and I was in a daze as I looked up at the two people I absolutely idolise. Move forward 8 years and after missing out in the years between due to circumstances out of my hands, I saw them last night in Manchester.
The setlist was perfect. They are perfect and this was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It’s the way they look at each other, it’s the way Alison bends herself in a way that makes you think she’s going to snap, it’s the way Jamie holds his guitar like a machine gun and aims at us. It’s the way that they put everything into it and you cannot help but stare at them in awe. You just don’t know who to watch.
There’s so much importance within their songs for me and it’s the songs that you can probably say, saved a life a few times. Their music has been keeping me sane for well over a decade and from them, I’ve learnt that you just need one person on your side and all is alright.
There’s a moment in the set where Jamie stands at the front with his guitar and at the end, Alison lovingly kisses his shoulder and it’s moments like this that make you see just how beautiful their friendship is. He walks up to her as she sings, strutting with his guitar in a way that looks like a big brother endearingly winding up their little sister. They look at each other with an emotion that not everyone gets to experience, and when you do- you just know.
The setlist is perfect, it truly is. In an ideal world they would play each record from start to finish and I’d just stand all day watching them, ha. Their is a brilliant mix of all 5 records, and hearing Dead Road 7 live is something that leaves you with goosebumps all over.
For the encore, Alison takes to the stage on her own and does That Love. I remember when I got my copy of the new record, Ash & Ice and before I played it, I read the lyrics. I had the record next to me to place on my record player, and I sat and studied the lyrics first. I always do this. I read the lyrics to That Love and instead of playing it all in order, I went straight for that song. The words meant something at the time and gave me something I needed. This can be said for a lot of their songs. To hear it stripped back like this was truly gorgeous and we got to see just how strong her voice is.
There is something special about the way they perform Siberian Nights and Fried My Little Brains. It just leaves you again, with goosebumps all over and the inability to speak afterwards. They are truly mind-blowing to watch, for so many reasons. Songs like Tape Song and Black Balloon give you courage and the beauty in Baby Says just leaves you frozen.
As I watched Alison stalk the stage like a lioness waiting on their prey, and how she moves across the stage looking at the crowd-how she performs reminds me so much of the greats such as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith. The ones who are fearless and captivating. I looked at Jamie and all I could think was, “you make it look so easy.” And again, I just wished I could play the guitar. His machine gun stance and her prowling are just the perfect combination. It goes beyond music, it always has. Their shows are made up of moments that the person watching will take with them forever. Moments that become so sacred to them. At times you also feel you are looking in on something private yet exposed at their shows, and I think that it part of what lures you in and makes you unsure of where to look. They don’t need to engage with small talk to the crowd, they really don’t. Their music and the looks on their faces do it all. That for me, makes them tower over most. That for me just explains everything I love about them. The music says it all. Always has, always will. It’s just so powerful and enthralling.
At 1am this morning, after waiting in the rain since the show ended and after waiting 13 years- I met Alison Mosshart. I didn’t by no means get to tell her what I wanted/needed to, and maybe one day in the future our paths will cross again and I can tell her. But I met her. I met the person I have looked up to for so long, and when this happens something inside of you changes. The same feeling I got when I met Patti Smith hit me-but without the ugly crying. For me, this show had so much sentimental value for reasons you, dear reader, you don’t need to know. Maybe you already know why. I could write so much more about last night, but I’ll save it up for the next show.
Meet your heroes. Go watch them play. I’m seeing The Kills again a week today in London. The first and last show. My brain will be fried once more.
*photos of the show taken by me.