Few bands contain the moody mix of New Wave glitz and heartland earnestness that the Killers do. Truth be told, no other band has the weird, showy blend that Brandon Flowers and Co. have.
The Killers' brash feel for Springsteen huskiness and luxurious Duran Duran grace - with a little schmaltz in honor of their hometown, Las Vegas, thrown in for good measure - is theirs and theirs alone.
If you truly craved that mash-up of the tartly phony (nothing wrong with plastic) and the ardently windswept, the grandly European and the heartily American, you made your way to the Killers sold-out show at Camden's Susquehanna Center on a misty Sunday night.
That the Killers started their attack in an un-showy fashion was as bold-faced and clean as its most notable songs. There were no klieg lights shining, blaring "Fanfare for the Common Man" introductions, or lead-singer spiels to commence the evening. Flowers strode onto the stage with the house lights up, sat at his piano, crooned the welcoming lyrics to "Enterlude" ("we hope you enjoy your stay"), waited for his fellow Killers to kick into a soft version of "When You Were Young," and they were off. Within moments, "When You Were Young" went from relaxed to rousing.
Power surge aside, Flowers may be pop's most polite lead singer, offering apologies and coursing through each rich melody - as in the delicately synth-phonic "Human," for example - as if he was interrupting it. That doesn't mean that the vocalist was without drama. He was cocksure and comfortable throughout the leanly grooving "Somebody Told Me." And Flowers certainly wasn't tentative, as he and the rest of the Killers lifted a cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" from its lonely monotone reverie to something brightly optimistic, thundering, and bold.
Sometimes, Flowers' clarion, chipper vocals just lacked the necessary oomph to bring mediocre mid-tempo lumps such as "Miss Atomic Bomb" and "Smile Like You Mean It" to the next level. Thankfully, those were the few duds, and the Killers made thrilling theatrical hay of the dream-makers and devils that filled the piano-laced "Spaceman" and Springsteen's chicken men and racket boys during an altogether too brief cover of the Boss' "Atlantic City."