Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sybris & The Kills @ ACL (AT&T Blue Room Stage), 9.28.08

It was good to see there were Sybris fans in attendance at ACL Fest, evident by the uncoerced joining in of synchronized claps during the bands performance of “Burnout Babies.” The grunge quartet from Chicago released their sophomore album Into the Trees earlier this year to critical acclaim in the indie world and has further established their self as the band that sounds most like Sonic Youth since…well Sonic Youth. Lead by the fiery Angela Mullenhour on vocals, Sybris (pronounced ‘sib-ris’) gave a haunting rendition of the standout track “Something About a Dark Horse or Whatever,” and reached back to their debut to close out with “The Best Day Ever in History.”

Next up on the Blue Room Stage were The Kills, who are having a career-changing year. Their latest album Midnight Boom gained praise in every major music publication and helped them score a high profile position opening for The Raconteurs on tour. This performance was however very odd. After beginning with “U.R.A. Fever,” Allison “VV” Mosshart took a minute to scuttle to the side of the stage where she appeared to vomit. Returning, she blamed the heat for her lackluster energy but it was very evident that she was nursing what looked like the hangover from hell. Mosshart, who normally lights up the stage live, toned it down staying toward the shaded rear of the stage a majority of the time and left her partner Jamie “Hotel” Hince in front to carry most of the weight.

Doing the best they could in the situation, the duo hit great songs like “Sour Cherry,” “Now Wow,” and “Cheap and Cheerful.” But it proved to be too much for Mosshart who at one point had to sit down and have a stagehand attend to her between songs. She pushed through their closing number “Fried My Little Brains” and rushed off as Hince again blamed the 95-degree weather and commented, “This is bullshit. Come see us when it’s dark out.”

In hindsight, the strange performance was not just a result of the heat or a hangover. Later in the week it was announced that The Kills arrived in Austin that weekend and faced the mysterious disappearance of their tour bus and bus driver. It’s an unlucky snag on the road of an incredible year for The Kills, but they will undoubtedly snap back and push on much like they dealt with the Texas sun.

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