The Killers - Wolverhampton Civic Hall

They're possibly the biggest 'new' band in the world right now and, despite the lacklustre critical reception their new album has received, it is clear that, on this Saturday winter's evening, The Killers are bona fide rockstars coming to bring some Las Vegas glitz 'n' glam to the people of Wolverhampton. The sense of excitement and anticipation is something you don't quite get at any ol' gig, and it's actually quite disconcerting how many crowd members are donning Killers t-shirts. Support band Brakes, with their short punky blasts of rock, are quite impressive but serve only to rile up the impatient crowd even more. Every tick of the clock brings the audience closer to the main attraction and chants of 'Killers! Killers!' are, after a seemingly eternal wait, eventually fulfilled by the band's grand entrance...

We have entered Sam's Town. Yup, that's right. As you can see above, the new album's titular town also acts as the world The Killers are letting us enter this evening. And it's a good 'un. Opening with the very song Sam's Town, Mr Flowers (donned in a rather subdued blazer when compared with last year's controversial salmon - i.e. blatantly pink - number) and his motley crue launch into one of my top three gigs of the year. The synth-washed ode to a casino is a rollicking opener, and the crowd are loving it, their prayers finally answered and the band giving it all on stage. Next up is the bitty but scene-setting Enterlude, which gives way to an epic When You Were Young. It's clear at this stage that our visit to Sam's Town is going to be a special one.

I say 'our' as if myself and the audience were a band of brothers. Seems silly, really, but when you consider pretty much everyone is singing along and, more than once, BEAMING at each other then it makes you realise how gig-going can either see too-cool-for-skool crowds standing still throughout or, alternatively, can really be a full-on sensory experience. The parade of Hot Fuss hits are staggeringly well-received (as expected really), people at the back singing as loud as those on the front row, anthems like Somebody Told Me and Smile Like You Mean It as uniting and rousing as the best Brandon's revered Morrissey and the Smiths had to offer. When I saw them in January 2005, they weren't very interactive with the audience and this hasn't changed one bit really - Brandon mutters a couple of 'hello Wolverhampton's but that's generally it for niceties. However, he is clearly enthused throughout and the other band members, despite never making a peep, are all solid musicians and clearly do their job well. Besides, the crowd are here for the songs that have made the group one of America's most welcome exports, idle chitchat (or lack of) be damned!

I admit it took me a while to get into the new album, my initial reaction upon hearing it being that many of the songs sounded a bit samey and that the whole 'road trip through Americana' thing had been done and done better. However, I've warmed to it a great deal since my first listen and the new stuff featured here, forming the majority of the setlist, sounds as good as anything off the debut. Confessions of a King has a nice groove to its chorus, and Read My Mind is quite possibly, in Brandon's own words, the best song they have ever produced. There's still room for singalong fave Mr Brightside though, and they leave us with this before the inevitable encore.

It's a sign that the nation has taken a song to its heart when, in the brief gap before the band re-emerge, it seems like the whole crowd is singing "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" at the top of their lungs. We're treated to a lovely rendition of slow-burner My List and a playthrough of the catchy For Reasons Unknown but, alas, the big finale is All These Things That I've Done. After all is said and done, these Vegas boys have soul in abundance and may even soldier on to take over U2's throne as biggest band in the world. They leave us with the bittersweet goodbye of Exitlude, and it is a shame that one's stay in Sam's Town is so brief...

Last updated: 19/04/2018 03:52:41

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