Friday, October 7, 2005

Concert Preview

Killer instincts for danceable rock and latter-day glam

By Patrick MacDonald
Seattle Times 

Just six months ago, the Killers were here playing the 1,600-capacity Moore Theatre. Now the stylish, metrosexual Las Vegas dance-rock band is back, only this time the venue is the 16,000-seat KeyArena, 10 times the size of the Moore.

A jump that big that quick is almost certain proof that the Killers have legs. The handsome foursome has leap-frogged over such other promising bands as Franz Ferdinand (which played two shows at the Paramount last weekend), Interpol, the Vines and the Strokes in attracting a big mainstream audience.

The only thing that could stop the Killers now is a stinker of a sophomore CD. So far, they've revealed only one song from it in concert, "All the Pretty Faces," which critics have been raving about, some of them calling it better than anything on the debut "Hot Fuss" album.

That disc has sold 2.4 million copies in the U.S. and a total of almost 5 million worldwide. It's been out longer than a year and is still in the Top 40 of Billboard's Top 200 album chart.

No telling when the new disc will be released, but it won't be anytime soon, because "Hot Fuss" is doing so well. It got a big boost in August, when a new version was released, with three additional songs, previously available only on the U.K. version (the album was recorded in London).

One of them, "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll," was a highlight of the Killers' set when it played the "Deck the Hall Ball 2004" at the Key (on a bill that also included Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse). They dedicated the song to SubPop and grunge. A hint that the Killers were already a cult band back then was the fact that many in the crowd sang along, especially the line "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" from the "Hot Fuss" cut "All These Things That I've Done."

The Killers made their Seattle debut earlier that year at Bumbershoot, playing, appropriately, the What's Next Stage, in the Exhibition Hall, which was packed to capacity. Lead singer Brandon Flowers, impeccably dressed in suit, vest and tie, remained cool and detached even when the summertime heat made his mascara run and etched lines in the glittery blush on his cheeks.

When they got to the swirling, hectic "Somebody Told Me," a Duran Duranlike cut from "Hot Fuss," the place turned into a blurred, bouncing mass of dancing fans, which only upped the temperature.

Rock fans' never-ending desire to dance is one of the main reasons for the Killers quick rise. In recent years, hip-hop has provided most of the dance beats, from romantic to hard-core. So when a rock band comes along with rhythms aimed for the dance floor, it stands out.

The Killers' killer looks are a factor, too. In contrast to scruffy rock bands, the Killers come off like GQ mod-

els. That draws the ladies. Flowers' sensitive-guy struggles - he's a Mormon who can't seem to quit smoking and drinking (not to mention wearing makeup) - may add to his appeal. He recently got married, which might make him less of a heartthrob and might also squelch the gay rumors.

Opening the show is British Sea Power, a band known for its dramatic, guitar-driven rock and dynamic stage shows.