Richard Brabin is in thrall of the uncompromising Kills

With a glut of bands, often referred to as ‘the the bands’ rearing and roaring throughout the early 00’s, spearheaded by The Strokes in the US and The Libertines in the UK, there was always the question of just how many would be able to achieve long-standing success in a hugely over saturated marketplace. However, The Kills always had an extra string to their bow in this Darwinian free-for-all, having transatlantic membership which allowed for mutual accessibility in both continents and a vibrant and less coalescent mission statement.

With their new album Ash & Ice, the eclectic crowd at Oxford’s O2 would suggest The Kills appear to be keeping their loyal customers satisfied while picking up new admirers along the way.

Now in their 15th year, The Kills are a more polished and refined beast to their earlier more DIY approach, and have not only an impressive back catalogue to work with but the performing prowess and self belief of a band who know exactly how to woo and delight, thumping through a magisterial set of belting rock and roll rhapsodies. As soon as The Kills take to the stage, now with a live drummer and an extra multi instrumentalist, Mosshart and Hince dominate the stage both physically and musically, barely lowering the high bar of momentum they set for their entire show.

The group haven’t changed their uncompromising nature, still adhering to grunge-inflected, sleazy guitar work, and Mosshart’s captivating vocals feel as fresh as they did at the turn of the century as do the bluesy meanderings of Hince’s guitar.

The set is a cleverly orchestrated selection of songs which would charm both ardent fan and relative new comer, a mix of old, new, singles and album tracks which, while sticking to a clear and definitive approach to composition, never feel overindulged.

John Peel once stated, when asked why he loved The Fall so much: “They are always different, they are always the same.” This statement certainly rings true with The Kills, and while many bands have fallen along the wayside despite desperate attempts to roll with the times, The Kills do exactly what they do – and well enough that it always has innate relevance and absolute necessity.