Debuting new material
The Killers - Live At The O2 Academy, Leeds

For years The Killers have been left to swell into a bigger and bigger parody of themselves. Since becoming the indie darlings of 2004 they’ve morphed into an overblown Springsteen/U2 inspired stadium rock band.

Huge dates and bizarre sets left fans underwhelmed ultimately leading to a hiatus in 2010. But now Brandon is back, and he’s finally ditched that sequin jacket.

The band have regrouped and despite a headlining V Festival set looming, have chosen the O2 Academy, Leeds, to debut new material. Tickets sold out in minutes and with the queue stretching round the building it’s clear this comeback still generates interest.

Opening with ‘Runaways’ the new single is treated like any other with each line echoing back on stage. ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ and ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ follows with ‘Spaceman’ in quick succession. The room erupts as Brandon tries to keep control over the swelling crowd. Suddenly the venue looks so small as bodies pile on top of one another to scream the words louder in a deafening roar.

Quickly there’s a lack of new material and you can’t help but think a lull is on its way. In a quick set even old tracks merge into one with the same formula used on countless occasions. ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine’ and ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ breeze by with ease in addition to ‘Human’.

But when ‘Battle Born’ does raise its head it’s treated like the back catalogue. Providing little difference from previous material ‘Flesh and Bone’ is structured by a soul infused bassline with ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ stretching into a low key rhythmic drama.

‘The Rising Tide’ lacks a big chorus, instead bumbling along until a rising change brings it back to common ground.

This may be a low key warm up but there are still hints of the band’s previous status, with tonnes of dry ice and stadium lights drowning both crowd and band – but gone are the pompous costumes and matador jackets. Over long new material is also sidetracked to give a greatest hits performance.

‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ finishes a raising set and as “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” kicks in each fan screams back the words and even we can’t help but join in.

While The Killers may still be filler pop designed for huge festival stages and sing-a-longs at the pub, it’s refreshing to see the group go back to the excitement of 2004 where fans bidded for entry and queued for hours. Without the egos and huge stadiums they’re still our indie darlings.

Words by Ruth Offord

Amended at 1:15pm on August 22nd

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