In last week’s CityPicks (Aug. 28), I mentioned a rumor floating around that famed producer Rick Rubin was to appear at the Killers’ Aug. 31 show at Tramps. Well, if Rubin had appeared, there wouldn’t have been room.
Adding to the density was the heat. Is it an unwritten gay-bar rule that AC must be kept to a minimum so all young male bodies glisten with sweat? Well, they should crank it for the electro-clashers, ‘cause it causes their mascara to run — and it ain’t that pretty at all.
Adding to the density and the heat were the Killers. Christ, this band has come a long way from their sorry-ass performances around this time last year. Now the band plays the tightest, slickest, most vicious set of pop tunes I’ve heard in Las Vegas in the two ho-hum years I’ve covered this scene. Somebody is grooming these guys for the big leagues, and the effort has clearly paid off. Most of the old, crappy numbers are gone, replaced by unhappy, shiny, infinitely superior ones.
(Moreover, Tramps may not know a damn thing about climate control, but the bar’s soundman knows everything about how to get the most from a tiny PA system. The sound was impeccable.)
The guys are even starting to resemble rock stars, what with Ronnie Vannucci gasping for breath as he punishes his drumkit; Tavian Go, his blowout ‘fro in full effect, slashing and raking his guitar; and vocalist Brandon Flowers facing off with the front-row ladies as they touch his magnificent jacket. This much is clear: The Killers kick ass.
The best thing I learned that night? “Jenny” is about a girl all right — but she’s dead. Indeed, rather than a sappy ode, the song is a full-throttle requiem.
Yeah, there’s very little that’s new or original about the Killers, and I suspect there are dozens of similar sounding, retro-’80s, synth-tinged outfits in S.F., Seattle and Portland. But the Killers kill live and have earned the title of Las Vegas’ best rock band. Catch them at a local club now, before you have to pay $50 to see them rock the Joint this time next year.”