Review: Brandon Flowers
"ARE we gonna give it the lash or what?" Brandon Flowers there, struggling ever so slightly with the local vernacular. Fair play to him, he likes to make the effort. Good Lord, was the man always this handsome?
Tonight, a well-groomed Flowers cuts a dashing figure in a fitted suit jacket and jeans. It's a little over a decade since Las Vegas quartet The Killers released their stellar debut, Hot Fuss, and lead singer Flowers - always more of a pop star than a rock 'n' roll man - is using his spare time wisely.
The Killers are taking a break, so Flowers has decided to play solo superstar. Again.
Indeed, the newly-released The Desired Effect is the chap's second solo record in five years. It's a good one, too. Granted, he's a tad nervous without his buddies; a little unsure of himself, even, that burning confidence we hear on record never quite spilling over into the performance.
In short, Flowers is holding back, second-guessing every move. Thankfully, the songs are fantastic; the vocals, near-immaculate. Flanked by a large band (grungy rock 'n' rollers to his left, a striking backing vocalist to his right), Flowers jumps straight in with the brass-coated Dreams Come True. It's big, it's loud and it's very, very catchy. Dude's got his head firmly stuck in the 1980s - that's a good thing, right?
"I miss you when I'm not here," he declares, sharing stories about his band's first time in Dublin.
He's nothing if not genuine - an amiable, appreciative showman throughout. Those elastic vocal stretches sound wonderful on the late-night, synth groove of Can't Deny My Love and the dreamy Crossfire.
Flowers has also decided to rework a few Killers' favourites, from the good (a bluesy, bar-band rendition of Jenny Was a Friend of Mine) to the downright ugly (Mr. Brightside doesn't work as a dance tune).
The solo material stands strong. Remarkably, he manages to sample Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy (I Can Change) without making a complete balls of it. True, Flowers hasn't yet figured out his own identity, but he's getting there. He certainly has a lot more to give. HHHII