He often sang with a hand over his heart, in a “Pledge of Allegiance” pose, looking as earnest and hopeful as a man asking for his sweetheart’s hand in marriage.
Brandon Flowers is not one to camouflage his emotions-when the Killers frontman hits the stage, he holds little back, smiling wide, pistoning himself up and down, gesticulating as he sings.
Less than a month away from the release of his solo debut Flamingo, due out September 14, Flowers played a sold-out show on Sunday night at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Lounge, a cozy little showroom with a capacity of only a few hundred, adjacent to a small alcove whose walls are lined with framed black and white photos of Elvis Presley.
Flowers turned in an impassioned 10-song, 45-minute set, where the prevailing mood was of optimism and anticipation. “Be an advocate of joy,” Flowers urged on “Swallow It,” a climactic pop rocker with dramatic keyboard. “Find your little heart’s desire and follow it.”
Flowers seemed to be heeding his own advice on this night, debuting much of Flamingo, starting with “On The Floor,” a spare, slow-simmering number that began with him singing over a soft keyboard riff before building into a gospel-like hymnal complete with stirring backing vocals from a pair of female singers.
A few of Flowers’ songs would not sound out of place on a Killers record, namely first single “Crossfire,” with its ringing, triumphant guitar lines, and the buoyant, big voiced “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts,” which came outfitted with a hands-in-the-air chorus that Flowers delivered while stomping the stage like he was trying to kick start a motorbike.
Elsewhere, Flowers branched out a bit. The dusky “Magdalena” was flecked with country western guitar flourishes, while “Was It Something I Said?” rode a bright, funky bass line.
“This next song is more on the romantic side of things,” Flowers said by way of introducing the wistful, lovelorn “Hard Enough,” which Flowers sings with Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis on the record.
There was a mix of the old with the new, including a stripped-down take on the Killers “Losing Touch” and a hot blooded cover of Kim Carnes’ “Bettie Davis Eyes.”
The show climaxed with “Playing With Fire,” a bluesy torch song with touches of lap steel where Flowers ratchets his voice up to near falsetto heights.
As the song built momentum, Flowers became increasingly animated, climbing atop a stage monitor, fists clenched, punching the air. “I’ve got this burning belief in salvation and love,” he sang, its flames rivaled by the fire in his belly.
“On the Floor”
“Bettie Davis Eyes”
“Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts”
“Was It Something I Said?”
“Playing With Fire”