The voice of Brandon Flowers is instantly recognisable. The Las Vegas-born singer has spent twelve years in the charts as front man of alternative rock band, The Killers, and with the release of his debut album Flamingo in 2010, he proved his popularity as a solo artist too. Flowers’ follow-up record, The Desired Effect, released earlier this month (15 May), saw him return to Brixton Academy on Thursday night.
After a solid supporting performance from Findlay, Flowers calmly takes to the stage in a silver blazer and tight black jeans, and launches straight in to ‘Dreams Come True’, the opening track from The Desired Effect. This is followed by the irrepressibly catchy ‘Can’t Deny My Love’, which, like Flowers’ disco jacket, dazzles the crowd.
Flamingo tracks include the formidable singles, ‘Crossfire’, and ‘Only The Young’, as well as ‘Magdalena’, which Flowers’ introduces with words of respect for the pilgrims who inspired the track. The performance of The Desired Effect‘s ‘Lonely Town’, smoothly transitions into new single, ‘I Can Change’, which many listeners are already acquainted with (thanks to that famous electronic, synth-pop track ‘Smalltown Boy’, by Bronski Beat).
Flowers is kind to The Killers fans who permeate the crowd, treating them to renditions of ‘Jenny Was a Friend Of Mine’, ‘Read My Mind’ and the ultimate alternative anthem: ‘Mr Brightside’. It’s impossible not to dance to this song, a point proved by Flowers’ supporting vocalists, who can’t resist a mini rave on stage. Then the lights go down to the sound of ecstatic applause.
Returning for the encore, Flowers takes a few moments to explain that after twelve years of interviews with The Killers, time and again, journalists neglected to cite The Pretenders as one of the bands greatest influences. Mention of the band’s name is enough to raise a cheer, so when Flowers introduces their lead singer, and extremely special guest, Chrissie Hynde, to the stage; the excitement is certainly palpable.
Clad in black waistcoat and tie, Hynde shimmies intermittently with Flowers throughout The Pretenders classic ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’. Hynde stays for the live debut of ‘Between Me and You’, before leaving the stage with the sound of an adoring crowd roaring in her ears. Flowers dedicates his next song, ‘Still Want You’, to his wife and two sons, who he then brings on to the stage to share the spotlight with him.
To conclude the evening’s electronic excellence and visceral vocals, Flowers sings ‘The Way It’s Always Been’. Wolf-whistles, screams, and applause ricochet around the walls of Brixton, proving that Brandon Flowers has had more than just The Desired Effect on his audience on this Thursday night.
- Dreams Come True
- Can’t Deny My Love
- Hard Enough
- Jenny Was a Friend of Mine (The Killers song)
- Lonely Town
- I Can Change
- Read My Mind (The Killers song)
- Swallow It
- Only the Young
- Mr Brightside (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)
- Don’t Get Me Wrong (The Pretenders cover, with Chrissie Hynde)
- Between Me and You (with Chrissie Hynde, Live Debut)
- Still Want You
- The Way It’s Always Been