Last night The Killers killed it at Tennent’s Vital on a stage strobed with blue, then neon pink and ultraviolet light as frontman Brandon Flowers - surely the prettiest rocker of our age - shimmied in pink sequined jacket through an electric set.
The band ranged from hits like Mr Brightside, Human, All These Things That I’ve Done and newer material from their most recent album Battle Born. The latter material like Shot At the Night and Runaways, perhaps lacks a soupçon of the vim and huge pop-rock heights of Hot Fuss and Day & Age, and the awesomely anthemic choruses that rocketed this Las Vegas foursome to global fame, but even where they miss full throttle, the Killers are never less than damn catchy, marrying a lot of pop and rock influences in a hugely winning cocktail.
“Thank you for coming out in the rain,” said the dreamy Flowers to a crowd so well-versed in the lyrics they could have performed half the gig for them - albeit without the same finesse or high tunefulness, or sheer sexy performing energy, or the amazing guitar riffage from Dave Keuning and non-stop, pulsingly primal beats from drummer Ronnie Vannucci.
“We’ve been having pints in the Crown Bar and I went to the Giant’s Causeway too,” confides Brandon mid-set before launching into what he described as “something from Stroke City’s finest” and - wait for it, yes, wait for it - they played a brilliant rendition of The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks, which was a truly standout moment in an utterly blinding set and a tribute from this multi-Grammy nominated band to Northern Ireland’s own musical heritage.
At one moment they even did a version of Van the Man’s Brown Eyed Girl.
Listening to them live at Belfast’s Boucher Playing Fields - you realise that this band are a veritable hit-machine, spewing out rock that is vastly popular, pop-cheery and marketable, if at times lacking some of the anger and angst that has powered the darker heart of some of rock history’s finest moments.
Tennent’s Vital returns to Boucher Playing Fields on Sunday August 24 with performances from Steve Angello and David Guetta. Visit www.tennentsvital.com/.