For Never & Ever Forever: Kill Hannah, Ima Robot and the Sounds in St. Louis
J. Gordon
3/3/2004 4:47:01 PM

For a Tuesday night all-ages show, the joint was jumping at St. Louis’ Mississippi Nights for Ima Robot, Kill Hannah and The Sounds, and anyone there couldn’t sit still if they tried.

Ima Robot opened the festivities with their instruments straight out of Devo-ville and a lead singer with a voice like Johnny Rotten. This young five-piece band from LA captivated the kids with high energy and personality that made up for any lack of originality and predictable lyrics (“won’t you break my heart/ you’re tearing me apart”? Come on, you can do better than that, boys!). Some cool, groovy vibes do sneak through Ima Robot’s electronic oeuvre, however, and strong pop melodies dig their way out of the jerky singing and rib-shaking percussion. There’s even a smattering of (God forbid) disco to mix things up. A band with promise and talent, with a few years of experience under their robotic touring belts they could really be something. And it’s refreshing to get away from hip-hop and aggressive rock/metal every now and then.

The Chicago-based Kill Hannah was up next, with lead singer Mat Devine’s all new band and one less ‘T’ in his name since the days of old when KH headlined Night Times’ Bash for Cash (1997). Mat’s got one of the coolest voices and acts in music today; a boyish seducer with stage appeal that bridges Trent Reznor’s dark, fist-pumping rage with the dash and make-up of Adam Ant. Kill Hannah proves better than anyone that the Glam rock sound is not only not dead--but dead-on fantastic and still sounding fresh.

In this Mississippi Nights set, the vocals were unfortunately a bit buried in the sound, so if you really want to get all the cool words, electronic excitement, and misty elegance of Kill Hannah, then purchasing their new CD, For Never & Ever [Atlantic Records] is a must.

Doing most of the eleven potential hit-tracks from the new CD, Kill Hannah heated a crowd warmed up by Ima Robot into a roiling fury. “Ten More Minutes with You,” their third song of this set, was so powerful live that we were afraid it might be the encore (what a perfect encore song it would be). After “They Can’t Save Us Now,” Mat humbly told the audience, “Our manager keeps saying, ‘St. Louis is so fucking close! It should be your second home!’ And we’d like it to be, if you’ll have us.”

After “From Now On,” “Raining All The Time,” and “Unwanted,” Mat said, “We’re breaking out an old one just for the kids who believed in us for so long,” and played the not-often heard, “Crybaby,” before closing with the radio smash, “Kennedy.” During that last song, Mat worked the crowd like a pro, shaking hands from the audience like a used car salesman as he sang; and patting his bandmates on the head, one by one. If Kill Hannah continues to get the boost of radio and the continued adoration of clubgoers who see them, only the greatest future is ahead.

Honestly, are all Swedes this gorgeous? The Sounds, from Sweden (duh!), closed the show with their retro punk-pop dance numbers, very much in the spirit of 80s bands like Berlin and Blondie. Choreographed attitude, playful snarling and coy flirtation filled the set. Fun? Sure, but we are still tripping over Kill Hannah, and will likely be --forever and ever.


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