Throughout my many years as a music fan, I’ve gone through dozens of fangirl crushes—all silly and mildly obsessive, all quickly fleeting. Years later my musician lust has died down, however one crush has stuck with me: Brandon Flowers, frontman for Vegas act the Killers. I never quite knew what drew me to him, but after seeing the band live at the small and intimate Webster Hall I finally began to understand what’s so special about him, and it has nothing to do with his looks.
While he may have boyish charm and gentlemanly mannerisms, what’s really spectacular about Flowers is the energy and dedication he puts into his performance. He is confident but still humble. These traits were visible from the second he stepped out on stage last night, opening the show with “Runaways”, the first single off the band’s upcoming album, Battle Born.
Powering forward with mega hits like “Somebody Told Me” and “Smile Like You Mean It”, the sold out crowd danced and screamed like it was the last show they’d ever see. Girls in heels and men old enough to have grandchildren all banded together in hopes of getting closer to the small yet godlike figure serenading them. Amidst the hysteria the band also made sure to play some of the lesser known tracks, including “Bling (Confessions Of A King)” for their diehard legion of fans who didn’t want to hear just singles.
Along with “Runaways”, the band treated fans to a few other tunes from Battle Born, such as “Miss Atomic Bomb”, a slow paced, bombastic hand-clapper with guitar licks that are reminiscent of “Mr. Brightside.” They also played two other new tunes, both of which showcase new elements while still containing hints of the sounds of their previous three records, making Battle Born seem particularly promising. “Here On Out,” is a high-powered dance number, combining poppy guitars with a quickly sung vocal line you might find on Day And Age. “Flesh And Bone,” which appears to be where Battle Born got its name, echoes the theatrical tactics found on Sam’s Town with harmonized vocal melodies and gigantic guitars. However, it’s here where Flowers’ vocal range really seemed to shine through with the incorporation of higher notes and more muted instrumentals during the verses.
The mild-mannered Flowers later explained that the band was intimidated to play in a city like New York, however, after closing their set with “All These Things That I’ve Done,” it was a little hard to understand why. The chant of, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier,” was so loud, Flowers didn’t even need to sing it himself. If it wasn’t clear enough that the tough New York audience loved them after that, it had to be after the demand for an encore. This wasn’t your typical “One more song!” type deal, this was more like “If you don’t come back, we’re going to have a riot!”
The band graciously gave the crowd four more songs, two of which were new. After tearing through the upbeat “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” and the triumphant “When You Were Young” to close the show, the band graciously bowed, and gave a thanks that for once seemed very genuine. Maybe it’s just the crush talking, but it seemed that Flowers had a sparkle in his eye. He made it clear that not only is he a nearly perfect frontman, but he still appreciates those who got him to where he is. That is what makes him so special.