There is no better group of Indie Rock impersonators than The Killers. Last night's sold-out show at Dodge Theatre demonstrated that clearly, as the band's Fabulous Las Vegas Indie Rock Revue brought down the house, showing the band is, however improbably, one of the biggest acts to emerge in the last decade.
Having been called "a Strokes tribute band" in a review of their very first record by the notoriously soft-touch writers at Entertainment Weekly, the Grammy-nominated Indie Rock-style attraction has always had an uphill battle. Starting out as a squeaky clean version of the "The" bands of the early 00's, and continuing their career in a direction that makes more obvious nods to singer Brandon Flowers' favorite band, Pet Shop Boys, they've been in step with the trends musically, though. The Indie Rock-style attraction staged a glitzy show Monday, chugging through hits like "Human" and "Somebody Told Me," while at times looking and sounding just like one of the bands kids used to demonstrate their affinity for by affixing colorful circle pins to their messenger bags and jean jackets.
Taking stage as a saxophone player blew out the lounge lizard intro to "Joy Ride," from their newest record Day & Age, the seven member touring version of the band immediately impressed the sort of crowd which understands Caesar's Palace has certain advantages over the real Rome. Throughout the show The Killers aptly demonstrated the wisdom of their Vegasy marketing strategy: If you wouldn't fly all the way to Italy to ride in a gondola, why would you wait for a Strokes reunion to hear a snappily-dressed guy who sounds like he has an echo-chamber in his chest sing?
Flowers played the part of a rock star perfectly, never letting on that he's a clean-living Mormon family man. Combining the stage presence of a young Liberace with the showmanship of Sigfried and Roy, he more made up for the fact that Dave Keuning, the band's guitarist (who has Joe Perry hair and wore a vest that made him look like one of the roadies from Wayne's World) moved only as much as he was contractually obligated to. Hits like "Mr. Brightside" wound the crowd up, but the pre-encore closer of "All These Things I've Done," accompanied by blasts of confetti and the "I've got soul by I'm not a soldier" sing-along really got the crowd revved up. Only the band's universally endearing closer "When You Were Young," topped it.
As far as a Vegas Indie Rock-style attractions go, The Killers' Fabulous Las Vegas Indie Rock Revue is pretty good. Not quite as good as Panic! At The Disco if they're playing in town, but easy enough to suspend disbelief about and enjoy.
Last Night: The Killers at Dodge Theatre
Better Than: The last show I went to with my friend Eric, Rise Against at Mesa Amphitheatre.
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Personal Bias: I saw The Strokes with a $5 ticket. It was pretty great.
Random Detail: What should you do if Brandon Flowers shows up at your door on a bicycle, wearing a short-sleeve white dress shirt and tie, a Book of Mormon in his hand? Turns out Mormon missionaries can be chased off by simply explaining that you tried the "test" in "Moroni 10:4." Now, I'm not suggesting you bear false witness here, but if you try the "test" (details here) and aren't given a sign to convert to Mormonism then they have to leave you alone. That's right, beat it, Brandon!
Further Listening: Is This It, The Modern Age, Soma, Barely Legal, Someday, Alone Together, Last Nite, Hard To Explain, New York City Cops, Trying Your Luck, Take It Or Leave It. In that order.
By The Way: Follow my twitter, where I do some live updates from show's I'm seeing: twitter.com/martincizmar.