Sandwiched in between their show at the iTunes Festival and a UK arena tour, The Killers swing by KOKO in Camden for an intimate and rather impromptu fan club/competition winners gig to be filmed for a future broadcast on Channel 4. Whilst the fans get in for free, and are suitably gleeful in their receipt of the band as they march on stage to the swirling lights, pleated gold backdrop and hefty instrumentals at the allotted time of 8pm, all the emphasis appears to be in making The Killers look good for those in tellyland.
So all the regimented organisation the audience has been put through just to get here for the early start is cast aside as those in this glorious venue erupt to the opening bars of first single from the forthcoming album Battle Born, ‘Runaways’. Its typical Killers, all atmospherics, overblown dramatics and soaring choruses. And it’s marvellous, if let down a little by the booming bass and Flowers’ voice being lost in the noise. A further three new songs, including ‘Flesh and Bone’ and ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’, feature in the opening six of an eight song main set, and are well received. However, there’s little in the way of banter, or interaction between the band members, perhaps cast aside in the interests of efficiency in the time limited set.
Seven songs in, the loudest reception is reserved for a thundering ‘Mr Brightside’, Flowers now energised and audible, pumping his arms and grinning like a Cheshire Cat, owning the stage and taking the adulation. He looks fit and well for this tour, not unlike a young Tom Cruise, bronzed, young and at ease. ‘Mr Brightside’ morphs effortlessly into ‘When You Were Young’ to more pounding and arm waving amongst those on the floor – at least amongst those not recording every move on their iPhones – and with that they leave the stage after 40 minutes. The cries for an encore are very muted, perhaps because we all know they have to contractually fill the time for telly or perhaps because the folly of the encore has become even more stupid in modern times. But, despite the quiet amongst these fan club members, The Killers return for ‘Somebody Told Me’ and ‘All The Things That I’ve Done’. We dance some more, then they leave the stage at 8.55, the lights go up and we shuffle out.
These intimate gigs in the oldest theatres are always the most amazing and incredible. We’re used to seeing the big bands in the big arenas, lacking in soul, supping our Cokes and munching on bland hot dogs and popcorn. Seeing The Killers this close, this loud, this confident was a special night, despite the shortcomings associated with the sound and the limits presented by the tv recording. One not to be forgotten.