WEBSTER HALL – NYC
WORDS BY: AYSIA MAROTTA // PHOTOS BY: TOREY MUNDKOWSKI
I remember 2004 being a very prominent year in my life. I had turned 13 years old in 2004; I entered my final year of middle school in 2004. Most importantly (to me, at least), 2004 was the year I fell in love with music. The band that ignited the flame that turned into the fiery passion I have for music today, was none other than The Killers.
I remember the day I first heard Somebody Told Me. My morning routine in 8th grade was always: shower, get dressed, make breakfast and then eat it whilst watching MTV’s 4 hour music video block (something that sadly has since been replaced with episodes of Teen Mom). I remember my television screen exploding with color and a mesmerizing sound, and I stopped eating my Rice Krispies to direct my full attention to it. Seeing lead singer Brandon Flowers, donning eye liner and clear lip gloss better than any girl I went to school with, belt out the best song I had heard in my thirteen years of existence, was all it took for me to be what is now known as a victim (Killers super-fan). That day after school, I begged my mom to take me to our local F.Y.E (if you were born after ’93, you have no idea what I’m talking about) so I could buy their debut album, Hot Fuss. From that day forward, through Sam’s Town, Day & Age and Battleborn, I attended whatever Killer’s concert I could get to. Listening to The Killers led me to find some of the best bands, a lot of bands being some of their biggest influences (Dire Straits, The Cure, New Order). Their music changed my life. At the age of 13, I began embarking on the journey that is now my music library, all thanks to an indie-rock band hailing from the beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada.
I don’t like change and I’m not afraid to admit it. So, when I found out about Brandon Flowers deciding to go solo, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Flowers’ debut solo album Flamingo kept me curious with it’s smash of a single Crossfire, but overall, I felt underwhelmed as I hoped the record would grip me the way every Killers album had. Still, I applauded him for his brave efforts, and continued on wishing for another Killers record – which wound up being Battleborn.
When I read late last year that Flowers was working on his sophomore solo album, I was hopeful, but hesitant. However, when I found out that Flowers’ was testing out his new material for NYC at Webster Hall on March 24th, there was no way I was missing it.
After waiting with fans -- some who had been on line since 4:30 pm the day prior -- I situated myself on the balcony, getting a perfect view of the stage, as well as the sold out crowd, and waited for Mr. Brightside himself to grace us with his presence. The stage, embellished with lights that resembled a Nevada sunset, put the audience and myself in a dreamlike trance, when all of a sudden, Flowers emerged in a gold lamé blazer. The experience began with a new track off his upcoming solo LP The Desired Effect, ironically titled “Dreams Come True”. I say ‘experience’ because that exactly how I feel every time I see Flowers perform. I’ve always known Brandon to perform with an intoxicating and contagious energy, and I knew tonight would be no different.
Flowers, no stranger to NYC, confessed to the crowd that even after touring New York for the past eleven years, the city never ceases to intimidate him. But Tuesday evening was the farthest thing from intimidating, as fans welcomed Brandon and his new tunes with open arms.
He drew the crowd in, playing tunes like ‘Magdalena’ and ‘Crossfire’ (from Flamingo) before paying homage to one of his heroes and major influences Robert Palmer. His rendition of ‘Simply Irresistable’ was just that, and packed a punch that left the crowd screaming for more. It was the perfect segue into covers of a few of The Killers famous singles. His choice of covers included a slowed-down, country-styled version of ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’, ‘Read My Mind’ and ‘Human’, which made every victim in the crowd nearly explode.
Returning back to his solo work, Flowers concluded the first part of the set with the first single off his new album, Ariel Rechtsaid (Haim, Sky Ferreira) produced, ‘Can’t Deny My Love’. Hearing this song for the first time, played live, was the best gift I could have given myself. The song, reminiscent of 80’s pop/rock, has Rechtsaid written all over it – especially with the inclusion of background vocalists Erica Canales and Danielle Whiters. While the band behind Flowers performed ‘Can’t Deny My Love’ perfectly, I couldn’t help but hope that one day Haim would be backing Brandon in a performance of this song. Could a HAIM x Brandon Flowers collaboration be in the works? One could only wish.
After a gripping performance of his new song, Flowers retreated backstage, leaving me alone with my thoughts of the new music. I was sold. Everything I thought was missing from his first solo album has been found in The Desired Effect.
An artificial sunset was still glistening on the screaming crowd, promising Brandon’s return. Within minutes, Flowers triumphantly re-emerged for his encore. He thanked the crowd graciously before closing out his sold out New York City show the only way he could. The synths began, followed by the pounding of the drums, and before we knew it ‘Mr. Brightside’ was echoing throughout Webster Hall. It was an epic conclusion to an unforgettable evening with Brandon Flowers, proving that after all these years; he still knows how to produce the desired effect.