Show Review: An Evening With Brandon Flowers at Slim’s, 8/19/2010

by Gordon Elgart on August 20, 2010

No photos allowed, and it was really dark anyway, so I instead bring you a picture of Michael Pare from Streets of Fire. That's what Brandon looked like.

Not only did Brandon Flowers look like Michael Pare from music-nerd-must-see Streets of Fire (not the leather jacket look but the suspenders look), but the music was reminiscent of that film as well. All tales of rock n’ roll bleeding hearts and people down on their luck, but with occasional rousing singalong moments, the new material from Brandon Flowers is close enough to The Killers’ own tunes to make me wonder why the solo album was necessary. He’s always been the center of attention of that band, so that can’t be the motivation. So it must have been musical in nature. I just didn’t hear enough to know what makes this difference. Perhaps if he had played longer.

The crowd at the Brandon Flowers show at Slim’s last night had a clear dichotomy. In the front of the room were the screaming, excited girls, who would basically eat up anything he would dish out. “The shirt’s staying on tonight, ladies,” he said, bringing a louder scream than might be heard had he actually taken it off. Behind these girls, at about the middle poles, were a bunch of curious onlookers who were there to judge. And it seems like most of them were judging harshly. Perhaps they were wondering why they only heard one Killers song. Perhaps they expected it to be a lot more dance oriented. Perhaps they were thrown for a loop by the fact that he had brought along background singers. Whatever the reason, though, this was a boring crowd. Behind the poles, that is.

For in front of the poles was a bit of a party, and when Brandon left the stage at the end of the 10-song, 45-minute set, and the house music came on (“Forever in Blue Jeans”) , the girls screamed over the music. So they turned it up, and they screamed louder. And up again. Finally, resigned to not being able to scream over the deafening Neil Diamond song, they waited until the song finished before resuming a chant of “Brandon! Brandon!” But there was no encore, and sadly they went away, some having paid upwards of $100 to scalpers for 45 minutes of music. That’s not “An Evening With.” That’s a showcase gig. I’ve heard of leaving them wanting more, but personally I was just finding my way into the music when it was all over.

——

As for what he played, I’ve got a song-by-song rundown of what we heard. Brandon also made some comments during song introductions because he feels “like I have to explain myself.” As I hadn’t heard a leak, and had even avoided the single, everything you’re reading below is my instant impressions to the live versions. So without further ado, I bring you the set list, Brandon’s comments (in quotes), and my personal comments (in parentheses):

Song title unknown “When the lights go down in the city” is the first line. (This is his Johnny Cash number. He’s even wearing black, and there are no stage lights on him at all.)

Crossfire – (This is the single? I feel like an alt country show might break out here.)

Magdalena – “it’s about a pilgrimage that takes place in Mexico 60 miles from Nogales to Magdalena.” (I like this one. It’s a keeper.)

Bette Davis Eyes – (what percentage of this crowd thinks it’s an original?)

Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts – “the rocker of the album” (Wow, this sounds like a misinterpretation of the Gaslight Anthem. I wonder if he’s been listening to The ’59 Sound.)

Was It Something I Said?  – “more lighthearted fun side of the album” (“Me and Valentino went down to the chapel” also sounds like something Gaslight Anthem would sing, like low rent Bruce, or Streets of Fire, or Eddie and the Cruisers … that stuff.)

Hard Enough – (I didn’t quite remember what was happening during this song. It didn’t make an impression on me.)

Losing Touch – a Killers song! (Why aren’t the people in the back singing along, too?)

Swallow It – (this song does not have good lyrics)

Playing With Fire – (Nice, epic tune with good singalong potential. I feel bad that isn’t a Killers song because now when the solo tour is over, I won’t get to hear it again.)

———-

Brandon Flowers debut album, Flamingo, comes out September 6 on Island Records

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

casey August 31, 2010 at 2:48 pm

despite this review, i still would have loved to see the show. how did those girls get tickets so quickly?!

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