Friday, May 8, 2009
The Killers: A Concert Report
Two nights ago I saw The Killers in concert in Cleveland. I will be discussing it in next week's videocast, as well.
My right ear is still not at full capacity thanks to our standing in close proximity to six giant loudspeakers.
One has to sacrifice for music, after all.
Frontman Brandon Flowers is the main reason behind the band's cache. And he has much of it. Flowers is always in sync with his music and his band members. Like an involved conductor, he makes sure all the instruments are attended to and, thanks to his quick movements, he managed to have eye contact with his band members as well.
Flowers does not stay put in one spot.
Those who are hyperactive by nature will especially get his modus operandi. When in his element, singing or playing the keyboard and guitar, he accompanies his vocals with constant movement. What's truly amazing about this performer is that regardless of the constant sprint-like moves on the stage, his voice quality doesn't suffer.
And then there was the stage. It looked like a spot of Vegas had been extracted from the Strip and had been planted in Cleveland. His initial getup was also oh-so-Vegas. It looked like a showgirl helped him with the extravagantly bejeweled jacket which he kept on for the first few songs. The rest of the time, the band's outfits fit comfortably with their sound and stage.
A few times Flowers looked a little perturbed at the mic as it evidently wasn't behaving the way it needed to. He left the stage for a few seconds to talk to the behind-the-scenes powers that be about said mic.
He re-entered the stage at the loud welcome of his eager fans.
I like The Killers not only because of their definite role with the post-punk revival. That, after all, is not a primary reason to like any act as, in my case, at least, it's not what informs my taste primarily. I like their music because since they entered the scene and my radar over 6 years ago, their work has fueled mine most exquisitely. And, at the risk of narcissistically quoting a previous audio piece of mine, after all, one needs to be a 'grateful receiver' of such musical favors.
The concert experience lasted about 1.5 hours and it felt like 1.5 seconds. I never have the urge to play with my iPhone or check my watch or even think about anything else of substance or inconsequence when in the presence of their music. And to me, that's something. Something novel.
The Killers do seem to have gotten to the point of comfort with their level of popularity. It might just be that they believe they are deserving of it. I most certainly think so and those who object to their music/performance style need to make a good case for themselves for this band has created the pattern, I think, of what it means to translate 80's SynthPop, Electronica, and Punk into the reality and consciousness of the twenty-first century.
In sum, you should try and watch them on their current tour promoting their last album, Day & Age. It will be nigh impossible for you to take your eyes off the stage.
Kudos, Killers, kudos.
Labels: Brandon Flowers, music and business, music and culture, music and gender, music and identity, The Killers
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They do put on great shows. B.F. is so intense on the stage. I agree with the point that the reason why their shows are good is because of how micromanaging he is.
You seeing them out West, too?
Flowers can sing, for sure, and I respect that, because not all frontmen can.
I never go to a concert without earplugs these days. I've lost too much of my hearing from loud concerts in my late teens and early twenties. And probably all that loud jazz in my youth as well. I just use the cheap foam ones, which do sacrifice a little bit of sound quality (but then again, so does exceedingly high volume at concerts), but Ian uses pricier ones called Hearos which cut volume without sacrificing frequency range. They look a little funny though.
No iPhone-checking for a whole 1.5 hrs?!
They seem to have found this sound and space in the music biz where they have the kind of 'cache' that no other band can replicate at this point.
They are talented and, as it is often the case, they're also commercialized but that's simply a side effect of supply and demand.
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