As an obsessive lover of music, I am the first person to get to a venue early to check out an opening band. I've discovered some of my favorites this way - The Duke Spirit, The Black Angels, The Presets, the list could get very lengthy. So it was with great interest that I walked into Metro to see the Magic Wands open for The Kills and The Horrors.
This duo has a cute back story—Chris found Lexy on MySpace after checking out her demos, and they fell in love. Their love turned into musical collaboration after Lexy relocated to Nashville. And cute really sums up their sound, too. It's heavily 80s influenced, and the lyrics are all about young love and having fun. Lexy's "bubble-gum blonde with an edge" look is totally an homage to Debbie Harry, and her breathy vocals reminded me of her too. They're a fun band, and they have the potential to ride the wave of the electro-new wave-pop resurgence. With only a few EPs out in the world, it's tough to tell if they've got staying power. But if you want to have a good time and dance with a couple of cute kids in love, I suggest checking out the Magic Wands.
The duo set the stage well for both The Horrors and The Kills. The Horrors took the stage and basically pretended their first album, Strange House, never existed, playing not a single track from the album. The whole set was comprised of the new Primary Colours, which is a departure from the raw, garage punk sound of their debut. The new stuff sounds better live when that raw element comes back into the fold, but I felt disappointed that they wouldn't even acknowledge great songs like "Sheena is a Parasite."
When The Kills finally made their appearance, it was clear the show was sold out, with people tightly packed to see the headlining act. As they did last year at this time, Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart opened with "U.R.A Fever," from last year's Midnight Boom. The set isn't anything new, but the chemistry between the two keeps fans coming back for more in a perverse way. It's that whole "will they/won't they" anticipation that fuels their on-stage performance. After all, it's just the two of them and a drum machine—nothing fancy on stage, no backdrop, no remarkable lighting. So they have to have some pretty powerful chemistry, and thankfully they do. They played most of the tracks from Midnight Boom, but pulled out some old favorites like "Fried My Little Brains" and "Kissy Kissy," and even did two covers.
While I didn't walk out transformed by any of the bands, all three put on good, solid sets and complemented each other well with enough variety to keep people on their toes.