Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Fantastic Façade

A few years ago Mrs. Kyality and I saw The Killers at Saltair on their killer Sam’s Town Tour. In fact, Upto12 covered the show on his former blog more or less exclaiming them as the ultimate in postmodern pop rock. Well, Mrs. Kyality and I caught The Killers at the much larger, broader-audienced E-Center last night and now it’s my turn to provide the post-concert diagnosis.


I’m just gonna say it—The Killers are NOT a rock band. And perhaps it’s even insulting to say they are. The Killers are nothing less than theatrical entertainers specifically catering to diehard rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts, and I genuinely mean that as a compliment. I personally think that people who consider The Killers as just some kick-butt rock band don’t get it. They’re missing out on an entire level of intertextual, postmodern odes to everything rock ‘n’ roll.


I mean seriously, this band has a lead guitarist who wields a butt-rock Flying-V on top of a stack of amps in a classic power stance, a bassist that thumps on a McCartney-style Hofner bass and all the while has a lead singer who’s subtly channeling the ’68 version of Elvis. And it all works. Not to mention you can’t help but continually think that Jason Lee plays drums for these three characters. The Killers put on an amazing show specifically for rock ‘n’ roll junkies, full of mash-ups of their own tunes and sporadic rock references. Their stage is purposefully flanked by fake plastic trees while, you guessed it, the show itself would definitely not end without some serious pyrotechnics.


It was obvious that most of the audience wasn’t there to catch the nerdy musical nuances and melodic intertextuality. The three high-school doods directly in front of us were there to see the greatest rock band in the world. And if their Stand-by-Me-style group hug at the end of the show had anything to say about it—they probably did. The real question is, do Mr. Flowers and crew consciously know they are actually exceptional theatrical showmen or do they, in fact, ever forget the fantastic façade and begin to believe their own hype?

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