Today, The Killers released their incredible 4th studio album, Battle Born, on Island Records. Following a highly-anticipated American Express Unstagedwebcast directed by award-winning director Werner Herzog TODAY, September 18th at 7 pm EDT (edit: actually tune in at 6:53pm EST), The Killers will be taking over your television for multiple performances over the next two weeks. Catch them on: The Late Show with David Letterman on September 20th, Good Morning America onSeptember 21st, Jimmy Kimmel Live on September 24th and Ellen on September 28th. The Killers will also be hitting the road this winter with a full U.S. tour supporting Battle Born beginning after Thanksgiving. The dates see the band playing their fourth show at New York City’s prestigious Madison Square Garden, among other venues. Tegan and Sara will support on most dates, which are listed below.
11/29/12 Broomfield, CO @ 1st Bank Center
11/30/12 Orem, UT @ UCCU Center
12/3/12 Vancouver, BC @ Pacific Coliseum
12/13/12 Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
12/14/12 New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
12/15/12 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
12/17/12 Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
12/18/12 Fairfax, VA @ Patriot Center at George Mason University
12/20/12 Ypsilanti, MI @ EMU Convocation Center
12/21/12 Chicago, IL @ UIC Pavilion
12/28/-29/12 Las Vegas, NV @ The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas **
** support TBD
It was a hot summer night in Manhattan, inside of Webster Hall and out. July 23rd marked the return of The Killers after a 2+ year hiatus from the stage, which included solo projects from all but one of the four band members (Dave Keuning, guitarist). After wrapping the tour supporting Day & Age (2008) in early 2010, band members headed for different corners of the west that they call home and took some time for themselves. Amid rumors that they were sick of each other and breaking up, frontman Brandon Flowers (vocals, synth, bass) released solo project Flamingo and spent much of his press time explaining that the Killers were just “on a break” and that they would be back.
Flowers does not lie. Indeed the Killers are back. Releasing their first single “Runaways” from forthcoming album Battle Born and playing a few intimate gigs for die-hards before headlining the inaugural Firefly Music Festival (review) in Dover, Delaware last weekend, it’s safe to say there’s a Killer buzz again. Showing the east coast some love, the Killers headed north from Delaware to play the city. Not MSG, which undoubtedly will be on stop on their proper album tour, but the intimate and almost holy setting of Webster Hall. Something a little more special than average for a band of this size. A real treat for a fan.
The set looked the same. Nothing was different – but something was different. The signature lit-up “K” is replaced with a similarly-crafted bolt of lightening, the signature icon of the forthcoming fourth album Battle Born, due out on September 18th. And guess what, it has the ability to change colors. It’s signature, but different. We like it. We’re sometimes creatures of habit, but evolution is ok with us. Be gentle please.
Setting the tone with a world-class light show on even such a tiny stage, this didn’t feel like a practice run. Lights, sound, supporting musicians – it all felt fine-tuned. No fooling around here, from go the boys brought the heat to Webster Hall. Opening with the new release – “Runaways,” the band played with an intensity that you’d expect during the last song of the night, not the first – and honestly never quit. If you were waiting for a moment to catch your breath, give your legs a break from the incessant jumping, mop the sweat from your brow, it never came. The 19 song set showcased 4 new songs and covered the hits from Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town and Day & Age. “Runaways” is certainly the catchiest of the new material shared and was flawlessly performed. It didn’t take long for fans to latch onto this one, many already belting out all the lyrics along with smiling Flowers, fists in the air to emphasize their conviction that they are indeed “runaways”.
“Miss Atomic Bomb” is possibly the nostalgic nod track of the album – the new “Dustland Fairytale.” Sung with emotion by Flowers, during the live performance you can’t help but take notice of the harmonizing vocals provided by guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer.
Between “Human” and “A Dustland Fairytale,” apparently Flowers heard an audience member comment that “Day & Age sucked”, to which Flowers replied in dripping sarcasm, “Yeah, I hope our next album sucks just as much”. Lots of speculation exists as to whether the new album will be a return to the story-telling rock anthems that propelled the band to world-notoriety, or if the slicker, pop sound of Day & Age will prevail. Based on the tracks heard live to date, including “From Here on Out” and “Flesh and Bone,” I think it’s too ambitious to pigeonhole the album as one or the other, but rather expect it to be a blend of what the band does well, which hopefully will please fans of earlier sounds and new alike.
The Killers often throw in a cover from a local artist or a tune that they’ve been influenced by or appreciated in their own musical journeys. Webster Hall was treated to a short reprise of “Dreamin’” by Blondie where Keuning and Flowers spent a few moment together close on stage as Dave plucked out the notes. Flowers was clearly in his element again, happy to be on stage as evidenced by his non-stop smiling and energy as he paced the stage. Like Flowers nervous fist-pumps, no Killers show would be complete without “Mr. Brightside” – known to be the only Killers song that they’ve performed at each and every gig they’ve ever played. Go bet on it if you’re going to a show, the odds are in your favor.
“All These Things That I’ve Done” is their signature closer and anthem of all anthems. With Flowers up on the speakers, fists in the air, he takes us down the common path in search of redemption and builds an army of followers right in front of him, each and every time, claiming not to be soldiers, but to have soul. Barely off the stage, and they’re back, jumping in with newbies “From Here on Out,” which almost has a country twang to it if I may assert my opinion here, but a likeable chorus that even first-timers glommed onto. “Flesh and Bone” catches Stoermer acting as excited as Stoermer gets with some stomping of the foot and playing to Ronnie Vannucci (drums). The encore wraps with cult favorite “Jenny Was A Friend of Mine,” a Stoermer moment to shine with a bass line like no other which he again flawlessly delivers, and rip-roaring bombastic “When You Were Young” to send you on your way. If you happen to not have noticed Vannucci back there all night, maybe you’re on the “wrong” side of the bolt, there’s no chance you’re going to miss him during this epic finale.
The four band members seem completely comfortable back on stage with new material and old and show no hesitation, as if they’d never stopped touring. We fully expect Flowers to craft a few awkwardly-told, yet charming “stories” over time related to the new material that will be used at show after show. He’s not quite there yet, but we know it’s coming. But Monday night, with or without much chit-chat, the Killers did what they came out to do – remind us why we love them and let us know that they are indeed back. The flow of the show and their style was very similar to that of the Day & Age tour, but my guess is there’s lots up their sleeve for the full tour.
My only complaint is they never play more than 90 minutes. But I guess 90 is all some people can take. You’re left sweaty and exhausted but always wanting a little more. Fortunately, I think we’ve got a LOT more to look forward to as we suffer through the dog days of summer and Battle Born’s release creeps up on us. Keep your eyes on the Killers and get ready for the tour announcements. Big stage or small, you won’t have any complaints – it’s a live music experience of our day and age not to be missed.
Somebody Told Me
Smile Like You Mean It
This Is Your Life
Miss Atomic Bomb
For Reasons Unknown
A Dustland Fairytale
Dreamin’ (Blondie cover)
Read My Mind
All These Things That I’ve Done
From Here on Out
Flesh and Bone
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
When You Were Young
The Killers this week revealed the first single “Runaways” off forth-coming album, BATTLE BORN.
The opening notes will raise an eyebrow with well-versed Killers fans as it’s eerily reminiscent of their latest holiday release “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” mixed with the delicate piano sounds that marked lead singer Brandon Flowers’ solo debut Flamingo. But don’t get off your horse yet, one minute in the tune explodes with galloping drumbeats of the first taste of a chorus that will surely grow on us.
“Runaways” is the Killers first new single (other than their annual holiday releases in support of RED) in 3+ years. After a mixed response to their 3rd album Day & Age, the pressure is on to deliver what they’re best at – rousing choruses, stadium rock anthems, a slice of Americana. Die-hards flexed to the pop appeal of hits like “Human” and “Spaceman”, (over) produced by Stuart Price, but admitted to missing the grittier rock ‘n roll sounds of sophomore release Sam’s Town. New fans found a band that surprised them as they went back through the catalogue and discovered something rougher sounding, or at least edgier, different. Regardless of when you hitched onto the Vegas-born covered wagon making its way through the wild, wild west, you’ve no doubt been anxiously awaiting the next release – BATTLE BORN – scheduled for September 18th.
Our first taste with “Runaways” does conjure up small town America, with its classic storytelling lyrics that no doubt everyone can identify with – that need for something more, the need to escape – to runaway. Without the lyrics weaving a tapestry of interest, it feels a little soft till the second half, which bursts upon us with more guitar and drums filling your ears and reverberating in your chest. You can’t miss the obvious Springsteen influence – “Turn the engine over and my body just comes alive” – as we envision the runaways escaping down Thunder Road in their Chevy pick-up. It feels like we’re rejoining a story of hopeful lovers started in/on Sam’s Town.
While song writing for the Killers is touted as largely a collaborative effort, Flowers clearly had a heavy hand in the melody and overall production, as the yelps and sentimental vocals remind us of Flowers’ solo tunes “Crossfire” and “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts”. Which is not a bad thing – if you’re a fan, you should be pleased. Can’t we already visualize Flowers up on a speaker, fist in the air, quipping “OH, OH, OH”? And didn’t everyone claim “Crossfire” sounded like the Killers? Full circle people.
Bottom line – we’ll take it. It’s a start and we know it’ll play well live. Tens of thousands of us jumping with one fist in the air as we claim “ain’t we all just runaways.” I know I’m looking forward to that. But I’m not giving up hope that there’s less of a produced sound, more young Killers-esque grit, in store for us on the rest of the album. If we’re “battle born” and “runaways”, let’s get our spurs on, get dirty, and rock even just a bit harder.
The Killers will release their 4th studio album, entitled Battle Born on September 18th, 2012 worldwide! Created over the last year and a half, Battle Born is the highly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s hit-spawning album Day & Age. Epic first single “Runaways” premiered today in Los Angeles on KROQ’s Kevin & Bean (106.7 fm) morning show, and will be released to all digital service providers on July 17th. Head over to www.TheKillersMusic.com to hear the song.
Battle Born, named after the words emblazoned on the Nevada state flag, in addition to sharing its name with the band’s recording studio, is everything Killers fans have waited for since the band announced they would be taking a short hiatus at the start of 2010. The Vegas-based 4-piece – Brandon Flowers (vocals/keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitars), Mark Stoermer (bass), and Ronnie Vannucci (drums) – had toured for eighteen months straight in support of Day & Age, from playing their own shows in some of the world’s most prestigious venues – Royal Albert Hall, Madison Square Garden – to headlining massive festivals in every corner of the globe. By the time this run ended, the band had sold over 15 million copies worldwide of their previous albums, Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town, and Day & Age, and had become one of the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll bands in the process. Yet, they found themselves at a crossroads: nearly seven consecutive years of recording, releasing an album, and touring had left them ready to take time off. In the ensuing hiatus, three of four Killers released solo albums to critical accolades, each showing their own musical roots through the directions their albums took. Then, in 2011, the band made their first live appearance in over a year, headlining the inaugural Lollapalooza festival in Chile. The magic was undeniable; what The Killers did best, they did best together. Days later, they found themselves back in their studio – Battle Born – once more.
The songs came out quickly, starting with the album’s rousing lead single “Runaways,” followed by the record’s heart-string-tugging emotional gravity-center “Here With Me,” and the stadia-quaking electro-rock of “Flesh & Bone.” By the time the band had satisfactorily refined the body of songs, they put together a dream team of producers, recording in fits and starts to work with as many as possible, trying new things with each. The list of those involved was a who’s who of the production world, including Daniel Lanois, Steve Lillywhite, Damian Taylor, Stuart Price and Brendan O’Brien.
The process of working with so many of music’s finest sound sculptors proved one that benefited The Killers in the end, giving them a keener understanding of their own sound. The resulting album is The Killers at their greatest. Battle Born incorporates elements of each of the records that came before it – Hot Fuss’ storytelling eye for detail, the yearning, mythic American rock ‘n’ roll of Sam’s Town, the anthemic choruses and pop nous of Day & Age, while still sounding like an entirely new path for the band. It’s an album written with the live audience in mind. The guitars are heavier, the drums more powerful, the vocals more commanding – all sounding quintessentially Killers while sounding bigger and better than ever before. It is an album that, like its namesake and the band that created it, does not back down from its own strengths.
The Killers will be playing select dates in support of Battle Born throughout 2012. Watch this space for more.
Here’s what Killers frontman Brandon Flowers had to say about the song “We never knew what to do with it. Day & Age was us trying to be more of a pop group, but “Runaways” was rootsy and American, and it threw me for a curve”. Read more about the single here and take a listen to the song below:
Killers frontman Brandon Flowers called into Zane Lowe’s morning show on BBC Radio 1 today to announce that the band would be releasing a brand new album and visiting the UK for some shows soon. When will all this happen? What’s the name of the new single? Find out more by listening below: