Live Review: The Kills & The Raconteurs at WaMu Theater 9/19

review by Greg Rice

I’d imagine most music fans have a few fond memories of packing into a tight intimate club to get up close and cozy with a good rock show. Unfortunately, The Kills and The Raconteurs playing the WaMu Theater last Friday won’t be making for that kind of memory. There were a few things against it. First was the early start: doors at 6:30, show at 8:00. Also, it’s a giant space. Basically the convention center sectioned off with huge curtains and stadium seating trucked in. However, the sound was excellent, the light show was very decent, and with the level of intensity these two bands bring overall made for a damn fine show.

It’s pretty safe to say I’m a fan of The Kills. And while I don’t think my friends and I were the only Kills fans who showed up, it seemed like most folks were at the least unfamiliar with them. VV (Alison Mosshart) and Hotel (Jamie Hince) played a great opening set, if a little on the slow side. The highlight was a solid rip through Keep on Your Mean Side’s “Kissy Kissy.” Throw in a few hat changes, Alison burning through at least one cigarette, and they showed how a band of two with a drum machine can bring noise and rock with a couple helpings of lust along the way.

For those who have never been, the WaMu Theater is laid out with the seating at the back and thelarge open general admission floor at the front. As the Raconteurs took the stage, there was a mad press that filled the entire floor and left little space anywhere but at the back. However, once the rock started it pretty much didn’t stop until the house lights came up, brought with enough intensity to make you forget the shoving crush of the masses. For a song or two, anyway.

Jack White’s the known name of course, but watching him you can see why. He owns the stage and the music, switching between guitars and keyboards, strolling the stage knowing he owns it. The set list was a mix of The Raconteurs’ latest release, Consolers of the Lonely, with a throwbacks to 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers. In contrast to their last Seattle showing at Neumo’s, they seemed much more comfortable with their newer material, solid and polished. Excellent fiddle playing on “Old Enough,” and solid beastly enthusiasm from Patrick Keeler on drums throughout. As a solid nod to their opener, midway through the set they pulled off their own rocking cover of “Kissy Kissy,” a throwback to the opener and a move I’d like to see at more shows.

Finishing the main show with “Steady as She Goes,” The Raconteurs returned to the stage for a short and sweet three song encore. The final song was the long ballad “Carolina Drama,” with Jack getting the crowd in with the la la la la’s to finish the night. While not the most down close and intimate of shows, both The Kills and Raconteurs gave solid, flat out performances with good pacing and strong consistent energy.

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