CONCERT REVIEW Making Mainstream Cool

Killers stand a cut above their contemporaries

The Killers

Agganis Arena

Jan. 26, 2009

The Killers are a well-established band. While some may categorize them as “mainstream,” to me, they will always be in their own class. They’re just a bit too off, a bit too awkward, and a bit too raw to fit in with the likes of, say, Coldplay or Switchfoot. Their creative usage of electronica, sometimes profound lyrics, and eccentricity were all virtues that had me shrieking when I was first offered a free concert ticket by a friend.

While last week’s audience at Agganis Arena was surprisingly tame, the Killers had a dynamic stage presence that stirred the crowd. The songs performed live were just as polished as the recorded ones. Unlike many major label bands, the Killers’ music isn’t smoke and mirrors. They have real talent.

Frontman Brandon Flowers was especially entertaining to watch. His attire was not particularly flashy — black overkill, from a shrunken blazer to ubiquitous black Doc Martens, simply complemented his great stage presence. While most vocalists clutch the microphone as if their lives depended on it, Flowers spent a good portion of the time singing into the standing mike with his hands spread by his side. He expressed his interpretation of the music through odd but endearing movements — running in place, purposeful trips, and wild Gospel singer jazz hands. The fact that Flowers was neither inebriated or high (as a Mormon, Flowers claims to abstain from alcohol and drugs) only makes his energy that much more impressive.

Flowers switched his styles fluidly depending on the piece played. While the majority of the songs were lifted from their newest album, Day and Age, they threw in a few classics from the older albums to please the audience. The evolution of their songs was rather obvious — old songs that usually contain synthesizers sounded empty without them during the live performance. I was disappointed that they didn’t play “A Dustyland Fairytale.”

For a “mainstream” band, the Killers put out an amazing concert. For those who want a good time in the future but are intimidated by violent mosh pits, try the Killers. Flowers’ attitude reflects the attitude of the entire band ­— although he can be seemingly crazy, it’s a deftly contained chaos.