The Killers capture early energy at Continental Club show
For whatever difficulty Killers singer Brandon Flowers may (or may not) have had connecting to the audience in Zilker Park on Sunday when his band closed out Austin City Limits Music Festival, he had no such problems Thursday night.
In a hastily arranged drop-in show at The Continental Club – announced via Twitter around 10 p.m., with doors opened for 250 guests just after midnight – the Las Vegas rockers delivered 60 minutes of hits new and old.
The show saw Flowers clad all in black save for a gold lame´ cheetah print suit jacket and having no trouble provoking cheers and sing-alongs from the moment the opening the cocky strut of new single “The Man” kicked off the show. It was interesting to watch Flowers and his bandmates and backup singers adjust to a stage far smaller than what they’ve played with any regularity in more than a decade.
That meant for Flowers’ turns on keyboards along with vocals he had to contort himself to use a standard vertical microphone off to his side instead of getting a telescope boom mic positioned directly in front of him. He handled it with relative ease, but the definite highlights came on songs like “When You Were Young” and other where he was able to prowl the stage and lean into the band’s many anthemic moments.
About 40 minutes into the show Flowers paused to intro the song “Andy, You’re A Star,” which he said the band hadn’t played in close to 10 years, and recalled writing it in drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr.’s garage while obsessing over Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” album. While the dissonant opening moments of that song might recall the punk icon’s solo material, it’s final third on Thursday shifted into the grandiose and shiny smooth rock that Flowers and his bandmates would come to make a living with soon after the release of debut album “Hot Fuss.”
A run through Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” felt somewhat by the numbers even if it was an admirable tribute to an artist Flowers said he respected but was never able to meet. And show closer “Mr. Brightside” was a test tube example of what the band does best, crafting tales of characters caught in the middle of tough places and attaching them to undeniable choruses.
We’ll see on Sunday for the band’s second night closing the festival whether the back to their roots club show has any effect on their supersized outdoor performance, but for an hour in a sweaty and historic dive bar in downtown Austin they were in top form.
When You Were Young
Somebody Told Me
Run For Cover
Andy, You’re A Star
Read My Mind
All These Things That I Have Done