The Killers * * *
at the NEC Arena
Review by Jon Perks
It was only a couple of years ago that The Killers played Birmingham Academy as part of an NME tour quartet that included Bloc Party, Futureheads and Kaiser Chiefs.
It's the former and latter who’ve arguably hit paydirt the quickest, not least The Killers, who this week not only played a sold out NEC but had the bravado to try and sell branded red and white Y-fronts for #18. Surely for die-hard and foolhardy fans only.
Overpriced underwear aside, Brandon Flowers and chums can hardly put a foot wrong; album number two, Sam’s Town, topped the chart last year, while the recent Brits saw them leave with not one but two awards.
Any doubts that the foursome from Las Vegas should be playing such a big venue at a relatively early stage in their career evaporated as they took to the stage. The crowd went berserk as they launched into the opening three tracks of Sam’s Town and its tales of smalltown America, single When We Were Young kicking off the night in explosive style.
Bunting, silver ticker tape and more lights than Blackpool seafront hinted at their glitzy hometown roots, and while the stream of instantly hummable tunes matched the surroundings, Flowers was surprisingly light on rapport and banter.
Dressed like a modern day Wyatt Earp in bowed necktie and waistcoat, he easily whipped up the crowd with the odd raised arm and gesture, but seemed remarkably shy when it came to talking to them.
The set was never going to be massive, what with only two albums’ worth of material to choose from, but with the string of singles and every bit as catchy album tracks that made Hot Fuss a 1.5 million seller in the UK, coupled with the darker side of Sam’s Town, it was a good, if not great, hour and a half.
They left the best to the encore, with a cover of Joy Division’s Shadow Play and closer All These Thing That I’ve Done (and its great chorus "I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier").
It was, unlike the official merchandise, far from pants.