From Hot Fuss on, The Killers have explored sounds in massively unique waves more than most bands dare to. The dance-y electropop of their debut somehow bled into the Americana vibe of Sam’s Town before traversing the Bowie space fantasy of Day & Age. In their 2012, appropriately titled Battle Born, they finally reached a destination where all of these elements could coexist.
The band has mastered the mechanics of arena rock: the rising, yearning verse followed by the triumphal chorus, the surging crescendo, the “whoo-hoo-hoo” singalong (which they even added to their bid for post-punk credibility, a cover version of the stark, driven Joy Division song “Shadowplay”).
While the Killers have never matched the sales of “Hot Fuss” (three million copies) — in part because of a shrinking recording business — they haven’t done badly at all with their revamp. As a long-term strategy, it aimed the band beyond the ups and downs of adolescent romance to more general and more lasting hopes and dreams.
The Killers soon traded synth-pop pulses for ringing guitars, Anglophilia for heartland rock, insecurities for vows of tenacity and idiosyncratic lyrics for arena-rock platitudes. They left behind Depeche Mode and headed straight for Bon Jovi.
At their show in NYC’s Madison Square Garden on May 14, Brandon Flowers was an ingratiating, enthusiastic frontman, striding all over the stage and stepping up onto monitors to work the crowd; after apologizing for the postponed concert, he sang the show tune “New York, New York.” The Madison Square Garden concert had been postponed from December, when the Killers’ singer and frontman, Brandon Flowers, had a bout of laryngitis. Tuesday’s show had fans regularly shouting along. The band had another show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night.