With a name like Brandon Flowers and an outsized personality to match, it was probably only a matter of time before the Killers’ megalomaniacal frontman opted to go solo. And of course, he did so in the most Flowery way possible: in a million-dollar music video, ‘Crossfire’, that resembled a CGI-tastic Michael Bay action flick and starred A-list thespian Charlize Theron.
So naturally, when the man who once claimed “the Killers could be bigger than U2” played a paparazzi-swarmed solo gig at Hollywood’s Troubadour club on August 17, I expected an entirely unsubtle undertaking, a showcase of unchecked ego and over-the-top anthems that’d make the bloat-rock of ‘Sam’s Town’ seem positively quaint.
Yes, full disclosure here: I headed to the Troub with intentions to mock Sir Flowers. But my plans were thwarted, because I didn’t expect that a) Brandon’s songs would be better than anything the Killers have released since ‘Hot Fuss’) his new tunes would be “a little bit more mellow,” and c) Brandon’s personality would be mellower too, with him actually coming across as a downright nice and approachable fellow, bantering unpretentiously with the intimate audience in between songs.
Taking the stage wearing a plain shirt/vest combo and minimal moustache (and only performing one Killers tune, the lesser-known ‘Day & Age’ track ‘Losing Touch’), the seemingly reformed pomp-popper played a low-key, encore-free, 45-minute set, even uncharacteristically smiling throughout.
And there wasn’t an unsmiling face in the club when he introduced one number with, “If you don’t like this song, something’s wrong with you,” before tearing into an unexpectedly delightful yet unironic cover of Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes.”
Based on the new material Brandon played this evening – a sort of mix of ‘Hot Fuss’s shiny pop and ‘Day & Age’s Springsteenian rustic rock – I’d say his upcoming solo album, ‘Flamingo’, is what the over-reaching ‘Sam’s Town’ SHOULD have sounded like. I was truly impressed, as were most of the Angelenos shoehorned into the sold-out Troubadour.
So all is forgiven, Brandon Flowers. And don’t go back to your day job any time soon.