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Live at SXSW: The Kills Keep It Hot

The Kills
The Kills
photo by Siran Babayan

What: The Kills

Where: Emo's, Austin, TX

When: March 17

The air inside Emo's main room went from warm to steaming once The Kills, playing the second of their third SXSW shows/parties, took the stage.

The Kills
The Kills
photo by Siran Babayan

Forget the haircuts and supermodel fiance. If the American-Brit couple's gotten slammed, or overhyped, for being a haughty punk-blues duo (thanks in small part to singer Alison Mosshart's other gig with Jack White), it's mostly critic-talk meant to separate the regular listener from the hipster fan. Though the Velvet influences are apparent, The Kills are still just plain, old trashy rock 'n' roll.

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And there was no cooler-than-thou posturing on this night. They looked genuinely happy to be up there, playing mostly new material off their upcoming album, Blood Pressures, while the crowd lapped up the on-stage sexual chemistry between the two. Guitarist Hince gazed intently at the back of the room, while his spitfire cohort --alternating between mic and guitar -- almost never stopped whipping her bed-hair. Mosshart doesn't just sing, she snarls into the microphone, especially on an older track, like the chugging "No Wow." Even in nothing more than a black jacket and holed-in T-shirt, Mosshart is still all sex and swagger.