Concert Review: The Kills at Newport Music Hall

Alison Mosshart of the Kills
Alison Mosshart of the Kills

Photos & words courtesy of Harry Acosta — Website | Instagram | Facebook

The Kills, an electrifying duo composed of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince have not been to Columbus since 2016. A local station know as CD101, later CD102.5, and finally CD92.9 has held an, often bi-annual, showcase of indie and alternative music as far back as 2004. These discounted festivals would sell out and bring a handful of unpaid bands in for one night. The only money these artists would make was from merch sales. The independently-owned station has been riddled with challenges and as of 1 February, 2024 has ceased their terrestrial broadcast. They can still be streamed online, but the impact of the loss of their presence has local concert-goers uneasy. Will the lesser-known, up-and-coming, and even local touring musicians still find Columbus a welcoming, safe-haven stop on their tour worthwhile? 

The Kills headlined one-such event in 2016 and, after 8 years, have finally brought their performance back to Columbus. They filled the main floor of a smaller venue this time around, but had a line for merch sales spanning up the stairwell to the second floor. With the release of their sixth studio release, God Games, this was a much anticipated show for lovers of their heavy, raw, and at times, melodic rock. With a setlist spanning their impressive discography, the night promised to be a journey through their evolution as musicians and performers.

Opening with the sultry and hypnotic “Kissy Kissy,” Mosshart immediately commanded the stage with her captivating presence, while Hince’s pulsating guitar riffs set the tone for the night. Transitioning seamlessly into the infectious yet short groove of “U.R.A. Fever,” the duo had the audience hooked from the start.

In addition to their musical prowess, the Kills’ stage presence was captivating, a testament to years of collaboration and camaraderie. They fed off each other’s energy, creating a symbiotic relationship that elevated their performance to new heights. Mosshart prowled the stage like a feral cat, her commanding presence drawing the audience in with every move, while Hince shredded on his guitar with reckless abandon, his passion and intensity apparent with each note.

As the night progressed, the Kills delved into new fan favorites such as “New York” and “Going to Heaven,” each song delivering a punch of adrenaline that reverberated throughout the venue. Mosshart’s vocals soared with emotion, while Hince’s masterful guitar work provided a gritty backdrop that was impossible to resist.

The setlist was carefully curated to showcase the Kills’ versatility, from the unforgettable melodies of “Love and Tenderness” to the gritty punk-infused anthem “103.” Each song flowed seamlessly into the next, creating a dynamic and immersive experience for the audience.

Standout moments included the beautiful “Tape Song,” which captivated the crowd with its haunting lyrics and atmospheric soundscapes, and the infectious energy of “Doing It to Death,” which had everyone moving along to the tempo.

Jaime and Alison of the Kills
Jaime and Alison of the Kills perform live

As the night drew to a close, the Kills veered from their 2024 setlist and treated the audience to an encore that was nothing short of epic. From the new gem “My Girls My Girls” to the electrifying “No Wow,” each song left an indelible mark, culminating in the explosive finale of “Fried My Little Brains.”

Overall, the Kills’ performance at the Newport Music Hall was nothing short of spectacular. From the infectious energy to the flawless execution, they proved once again why they are one of the most exciting and dynamic acts in rock music today. For fans old and new, it was a night to remember—a sonic journey through the heart and soul of one of the most iconic bands of modern-day rock.

The Kills are still carrying the torch for hard-hitting rock that started in the 1960’s. In the absence of yet another locally-owned radio station, it is imperative for fans to carry the torch now to keep independent and alternative rock performers coming back to their local venue.

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Harry Acosta

Harry Acosta is a professional photographer who started out shooting concerts. Harry is an avid concertgoer and loves to capture his favorite musicians and unseen moments we take for granted in everyday life.