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Coachella 2011: The Kills talk less, rock more

April 17, 2011 | 11:25 am

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The Kills
delivered a refreshingly crusty rock 'n roll set to the Outdoor stage at Coachella on Saturday night. The duo has been around for more than a decade and seems to exist, in part, to prove that drum machines do have a soul.

Singer Alison Mosshart conjured the powerfully rugged female rock persona cultivated by a certain breed of sexy-tough frontwomen in the early '80s. Joan Jett, Kim Gordon and Chrissie Hynde all came to mind.

Standing on the monitors at times, whirling around in dizzy circles at others and flipping her long black hair like a hurricane around her face, Mosshart gathered force as the set rolled on.

Photos: Faces of Coachella 2011

Singing the repetitive refrain of the song "URA Fever," she looked almost possessed -- or at least she probably would have if we could have seen her face.

The set was also notable for its total lack of stage banter, but this minimalist approach proved powerful when toward the end Mosshart suddenly stood stock still, pushed her hair away from her face and stared with heart-breaking candor into the crowd.

That's when she launched into the somber ode to lost love, "The Last Goodbye," and as she sang she never looked away. The resulting vulnerabilty was arresting in ways it couldn't have been if she had shown her face all along.

Some emotions are better left to the imagination.

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-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Alison Mosshart of the Kills during her performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, April 16, 2011, in Indio, Calif. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Associated Press

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