Back in the summer of 2015, The Killers tipped their hats to Kings Of Leon at Delaware’s Firefly Festival by covering ‘The Bucket’ and ‘Use Somebody’ after the Nashville group were forced to cancel their set due to adverse weather conditions. At least that time, it wasn’t those pesky defecating birds, eh?
As well as providing a heartwarming show of musical solidarity, it also proved that the LA group’s theatrical indie-pop works surprisingly well in the context of the Kings’ bar-room rock’n’roll – just check the video above for proof. But this isn’t the first time The Killers have tried their hands at a big name cover version. Even suggesting back in 2009 that they planned on releasing a full covers album (that, sadly, never materialised), Brandon and co have tackled everyone from Joy Division to Iggy Azalea over the years. Here are some of their best results.
The Strokes, ‘Is This It’
When you think of Brandon ‘Feathers, Sequins And Why Not Chuck A Cowboy Outfit In There Too’ Flowers, you don’t necessarily think “minimalism”. They may have only dropped the opening verse of this first album Strokes classic back in 2013, but still – it’s probably the most stripped-down thing The Killers will ever put their name to.
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, ‘Fancy’
At the more brilliantly ludicrous end of the cover spectrum, however, was the band’s take on Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX smash ‘Fancy’ at V Festival. It’s not so much Brandon’s maudlin version of Charli’s brat-pop vocal that wins out, as drummer Ronnie Vanucci’s interpretative dance. Napoleon Dynamite ain’t got nothing on Vanucci’s moves.
Oasis, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’
Step back three years and The Killers, aka V Festival’s house band, were bringing a more traditional sing-along to their 2012 headline spot. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger festival anthem than ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, so who can blame the Vegas boys for wanting a piece of the Manchester pie?
Dire Straits, ‘Romeo And Juliet’
Of all The Killers’ covers, Dire Straits’ 1980 heartache anthem ‘Romeo And Juliet’ is probably the one that makes the most sense. Big, yearning sentiments – check. Sweeping, soaring melodies – check. A palpable sense of emotional nostalgia – check. It all clicks into place and the result is nothing short of glorious.
The Smiths, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’
It’s a lofty ask to tackle a city’s most famous export on home soil, but that’s what The Killers did when they performed this iconic Smiths classic in Manchester back in 2013. If it’s possible that someone can sound even more melancholy than Morrissey, then B-Flo might have actually managed it. There must be something in the Northern air.
Joy Division, ‘Shadowplay’
Released as part of the soundtrack for Ian Curtis biopic Control, this take on the Joy Division track was easily one of the standout offerings from the collection. Adding a darker slant to The Killers’ usual high sheen, it channeled JD’s brooding spirit but added a seedy, glam undertone. Solid work.