There was more to country music legend Hank Williams than boozing and a difficult marriage, y’know
Suspend your disbelief now – Brandon and co return with more glam bombast than the Proms. London (November 3)
So with that kind of a background, like Muse and Queen before them, pomposity is far from a dirty word for The Killers; for them the bigger, the brasher, the better. Which brings us to tonight’s gig, at the Royal Albert Hall no less, home to the jumped-up bonkersness that is the flag-waving madness of The Last Night Of The Proms. The half-crumbling Astoria or sticky-floored Brixton Academy this isn’t. Even last night’s warm-up gig took place amid the opulent, chi-chi surroundings of west London’s Bush Hall. These chaps know what they’re doing, and they ain’t doing it by halves.
They kick off with new single ‘Human’, the fabulously stupid question of its chorus (“Are we human, or are we dancer?”) posed over a disco beat so rousing it could make Jimmy Somerville start sprouting hair again. With this song, Brandon Flowers and his heartfelt gang make sure that everyone present knows that album number three is set to be no cop out. Camper than P Diddy after a rifle through Liberace’s closet it might be, but its soul-scouring dancefloor-filling genius even gets Sir Paul McCartney, one box down from NME tonight, clapping along like it’s the first time he’s heard some serious rhythm. And we know that isn’t the case… hell, we’ve all heard Wings.
But seriously, like a doctor armed with a hammer heading for your reflexes, The Killers can’t help but make you kick your legs up high in the air, no matter how hard you try to fight it. Even when Brandon struts onstage in a blazer adorned with some animal fluff and feathers that could only have been nabbed from the National History Museum around the corner and prances around the fairy-lit palm trees onstage like the king of a veritable indie-pop castle. Not one known for his banter, the most meaningful chat we get out of him all night is, “This place is too pretty for us,” which he mutters as he surveys the vast ceiling of this posher than posh hall. It’s sort of ironic, seeing as he’s probably the prettiest boy here tonight – sorry, Macca – rocking his sleek, Johnny Cash-style Man In Black look and jumping up on the monitors in a decidedly un-Mormon fashion. But who cares about such contradictions when there’s ‘Neon Tiger’ – a track with a title just as ridiculous as Kings Of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’ and just as inanely rousing – plus the all new glam-punk of ‘Losing Touch’ and ‘Spaceman’.
In fact everything from new album ‘Day & Age’ has the crowd in a hissy rapture, aside from ‘Joy Ride’, whose rather tinny samba stylings leaves the crowd motionless.
It’s fair enough, though – after the relentless hits, sometimes it’s nice to take a rest and, if that happens to coincide with the band’s one slightly duff song, then so be it. The Killers might just be the best pop band around today, but sometimes they need to let us take time out from their insistent anthems.
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