The Kills performing their Ash & Ice tour at Rock City Nottingham on Sunday 2nd October 2016

Images and Pictures by Kevin Cooper

When The Kills first emerged with their debut album thirteen years ago they were a lean, mean rock and roll machine. Skip forward a tumultuous decade that has seen guitarist Jamie Hince’s marriage and divorce to Kate Moss and five operations on his hand after a car door related injury resulted in the loss of the use of his middle finger, and they are pretty much the same.

Last night Hince and Alison Mosshart brought their never failing energy and stage savvy to Rock City, to tour their fifth studio album Ash & Ice. Having made some changes to their live set up with the addition of a drummer and extra musician to their two person gang, this bold move worked very well enabling them to still rely heavily upon the chemistry between them.

Mosshart’s breathy singing and gyrating moves synced up perfectly with Hince’s wailing guitar as they opened with new track, Heart Of A Dog. The dark psychedelic blues of Kissy Kissy saw Mosshart pick up the guitar for the first time and she did not disappoint. Powering through new tracks Hard Habit To Break and Impossible Tracks, they have lost none of their solid gold line in dirty guitars, husky vocals and gave a performance that was as appealing now as it was a decade and a half ago.

With Mosshart cradling around the microphone and flipping around her long hair, it was clear that she was focusing wholly on the power of their music. They slowed things right down with the sultry Black Balloon and a brilliant version of Doing It To Death.

Finishing the main set with Love Is A Deserter and a mash-up of Pots And Pans with Monkey 23, it was easy to forget that in the maelstrom of big beats, frenzied guitars and songs full of reflection on the nature of love lost, lost love and other muses, that The Kills can do delicate gentleness.

The first song of the encore, new track That Love saw Mosshart performing solo before being joined on stage by Hince and company to perform a staggering version of Siberian Nights with its psycho sounding intro. Bringing the whole night to a close with No Wow with its juddering drumbeats and tense vocal mantras, it was clear that perhaps surprisingly, they have not lost one bit of their sparkle.