Reviews

The Killers

Kristie Macris

Skinny Elvis or the fat man in rhinestones? Does it matter? Either way, the name is still in lights.

The Killers

The Killers

City: San Diego
Venue: UCSD Rimac Arena
Date: 2005-04-12

The Killers
I'll admit I was late to the show, getting lost on my way to the UCSD campus. So I missed the majority of the Tegan and Sara set, but it wasn't entirely my fault -- who expects a concert to start on time? More importantly, who expects a half-hour wait in line? As we strolled in, no one else seemed to mind missing the opener, us latecomers still managing to arrive just in time to hear someone shout, "You Suck." While normally touted as the Canadian Twin Lesbian Duo, Tegan and Sara actually tour with five members, three of them male. The three or four people actually listening to the band were dancing, but it became clear during the set (at least the portion I saw) that the true show this evening would be in the crowd and not on the stage. The crowd, not knowing how to dance to anything that hasn't been played on the radio for the last few months, didn't know what to do with the very un-Killers-like Tegan and Sara. Instead of learning, they talked on cellphones, chatted about shoes, and played with their hair. The opening band became little more than a diversion as people fought their way to be at the front of the stage for the headliner. Even the rockier "Walking With a Ghost" didn't get anyone listening. By the time Tegan and Sara ended, the mosh pit was in full force but only because everyone was edging their way towards the stage, shoving and crowd surfing to the beat of their own drummer. The Killers' radio domination fueled the energy of this crowd more than the opening band or, as it became apparent early on in the set, the band members themselves. The Killers took the stage to Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" and immediately launched into the first three songs on their debut album, in order. From the stadium seating in the back of the basketball arena, the sound was distorted and full of echo. Even the radio hits "Mr. Brightside" and "Smile Like You Mean It" sounded lifeless. Not that anyone noticed; they sang louder than lead singer Brandon Flowers and danced, danced, danced, something Flowers did little of himself. Besides occasional hands in the air, or walking Vegas-style down the stairs, upon which drummer Ronnie Vannucci was perched, Flowers' basic contribution was to walk around looking sexy; it wasn't to be energetic. During "Somebody Told Me", he did fall to his knees and "Andy, You're a Star" had him spin mechanically in a circle once or twice --almost a parody of himself. Vannucci seemed to be having a better time, as he was a bit more animated. Still, the Killers had their name in lights, and every time it flashed, the crowd went wild. In a pink leather jacket, Flowers proved that style really is more important than the music. The highlights of the show were, of course, the two new songs, "Where is She" and "Stereo of Lies", which blended well with the rest of the set list and kept the crowd dancing and even singing with their catchy choruses. "Indie Rock 'n' Roll", from the UK version of Hot Fuss, proved that the Killers can play the arena crowd just fine. And Flowers really only had to swing a microphone or shake his hands to get the girls screaming. What it came down to was this: if you went to the show loving the Killers and ready to sing along and dance to every song, then you had a great time. If you came to the show hoping to be wowed, then you left feeling a tad disappointed. The Killers did exactly what they do, they played their music with more Vegas-pizzazz and fashionable hipster-cool than any wild, rootsy Rock 'n' Roll, confusing the rhinestone jumpsuit-clad, fat Elvis with the dashing, slim young Southern man that earned the title as the King of Rock.

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.

Music

Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.

Film

Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.

Music

Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.

Music

Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.

Music

Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum
Music

Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.

Music

Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.

Music

Godcaster Make the Psych/Funk/Hard Rock Debut of the Year

Godcaster's Long Haired Locusts is a swirling, sloppy mess of guitars, drums, flutes, synths, and apparently whatever else the band had on hand in their Philly basement. It's a highly entertaining and listenable album.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.