If you can determine anything from screams of excited fan girls, it’s that Brandon Flowers has panty-twisting charisma. Constructing a solo career for himself after being a part of a musical group as widely revered and acclaimed as The Killers is a feat that Brandon Flowers seems to have accomplished miraculously well. In a metallic golden jacket as vibrant and striking as his golden pipes, Flowers strode onstage at the Electric Factory July 30 to greet the filled venue. Smiling ear to ear, his enthusiasm was disgustingly infectious.
Following the now five-year-old “Flamingo,” Flowers’ first breach into the musical realm as a solo artist, his sophomore album “The Desired Effect” hit shelves earlier in May 2015. Using the same bitingly visual lyrics as he does in his main gig with The Killers, songs off of “The Desired Effect” have softer blue-collar rock instrumental arrangements and focus heavily on the power of Flowers’ vocal abilities.
He led off the night with two notoriously chorus-catchy songs from the new album, “Dreams Come True” and “Can’t Deny My Love,” clapping, pointing at audience members and repeatedly dipping the mic stand like an inanimate dancing partner. A ten-piece slew of backup singers and horn players fanned out behind Flowers, assisting him in powering through the next three songs.
“You remember this one?” he enthusiastically shouted at the crowd before launching into “Crossfire” off of “Flamingo,” which he followed with two of its neighbors on the album, “Magdelena” and “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts”.
Not that the crowd wasn’t having a grand time singing and bopping along to Flowers melody-rich solo material, but his introduction to the infamous The Killers hit, “Jenny was a Friend of Mine” elicited a great deal of rejuvenated crowd vigor.
“I got one question that I’m going to ask you after this next song,” Flowers said while introducing the slowed down hit about a boy who has been taken into questioning for a girl named Jenny’s murder, asking “Is he innocent or is he guilty?” Surely helped along in their decision by the slowed down, eerie tone of the single, in a hand raised poll after the song most of the audience seemed to agree the death of ole’ Jenny was on the narrator’s conscious: guilty.
After two more songs off of “The Desired Effect,” “Lonely Town” and “Diggin’ Up the Heart,” Flowers launched into an adapted version of “Read my Mind,” another hit of The Killers, bobbing his head to the beat like he was imitating a swimming fish.
Flowers stopped in between songs regularly to chat with the audience. Before his cover of the Spoon’s “Underdog,” he paused to pay tribute to other great artists and in particular to endorse his opening act Donald Cumming. Cumming, best known for being the front man of his New York based band The Virgins, got the crowd screaming for Flowers. No one in my immediate vicinity commented on how a strange ministry of appellation created a ripe situation for any number of sexual puns here but I personally found the situation a hoot.
Wrapping up the set, Flowers soulfully tied up with his songs “I Can Change,” “The Way It’s Always Been” and The Killers’ much loved ballad “Human,” giving the mic stand a good handful more of comforting rocks to and fro as the lights flashed behind him. He disappeared for a few minutes before emerging for his encore.
Joe Pug, a singer-songwriter known for his narrative writing style, made his debut onstage with Flowers for a duet version of Pug’s “If Still It Can’t Be Found,” greeting the audience in a ball-cap and a goofy grin. They crooned together bromance-style and then Pug disappeared leaving Flowers to closeout on a very well-received, (despite a few technical errors) remedy of “Still Want You,” from the album “The Desired Effect” and “Only the Young” from “Flamingo.”