Tomorrow will see Las Vegas’ favourite sons, The Killers play their debut stand-alone show at Wembley Stadium.

Formed in the summer of 2001, Brandon Flowers, Ronnie Vannucci Jr, Mark Stoermer and Dave Keuning have sold over 45 million albums worldwide, become festival favourites and sound-track indie-dancefloors everywhere thanks to signature songs, “Mr Brightside” and “Human”, claiming countless victims along the way.

Exactly, how did a wedding photographer, a medical supplies courier, a Banana Republic sales assistant and a 20 year old bellboy who didn’t have a passport and slept in a Morrissey bedspread go from the unwanted warm-up act in “Trampps”, a transvestite club in Downtown Las Vegas where the revellers were more interested in the half-price cocktails than the band’s indie-influenced sound to becoming one of the most exciting and important bands of our generation with a sold-out show at Wembley Stadium?

Well, it’s quite simple really.

Dream BIG

Since their early days of synth-soaked sonnets of jealous boyfriends who strangle their cheating girlfriends, The Killers have never been coy in admitting their aspirations with frontman, Brandon Flowers even admitting that they wanted to be “as big as U2”. It’s this unashamed arrogance that has made them wildly unpopular with critics, but has kept them on the front pages of music press in both the UK and US for almost a decade. The critics are plotting and praying for their downfall but can’t help promoting them along the way.

Experiment!

If you’re a band lucky enough to concoct (or stumble across) a winning formula then it is probably easier to recycle it album after album than venture into territory unknown, right? Wrong! Well, unless you’re Coldplay. The Killers have done things a little differently; from their indie-inspired 2004 debut, “Hot Fuss”, with its torrid tales of jealousy, sexual ambiguity and murder via their 2006 follow-up, “Sam’s Town”, an open love letter to their homeland that echoed Bruce Springsteen’s tried and tested blue collar-rock to the electro-pop of “Day & Age” of 2008 which saw the ill-advised resurrection of the saxophone and the band “letting their hair down”, but left fans alienated due to its left-field concepts of aliens and ladies of the night, before a return to form in 2012 with “Battle Born”, their first studio album in 4 years, presenting a rejuvenated, mature band who sound as hungry as they did in 2004. The Killers have never been afraid to dip their toes into the pool of experimentation, even when it threatens to drown them; Brandon Flowers called “Sam’s Town” “one of the greatest albums of the last 20 years” while Rolling Stone dubbed it “camp as Christmas”. Their ability to take risks with their sound makes them unpredictable and keeps them interesting and relevant. Whether you love them and buy their albums religiously or would rather cut your ears off than listen to them, you’ll still be curious to hear what they come up with next, even if it’s just to hate it!

Tour, Tour & Tour AGAIN!

Following the release of debut offering, “Hot Fuss” in June 2004, The Killers toured the UK and Europe relentlessly and became a permanent fixture on the festival circuit for the next few years. An exhausting but shrewd move on their part; unlike the bands who came to prominence around the same time as them, Keane, Hard-Fi, Scissor Sisters and Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers used their gruelling schedule to not only spread their sound across the globe to as many people as possible and treated every gig as an opportunity to improve, honing their craft night after night, getting bigger and better, leaving their rivals to trail in their wake or fall by the wayside. The Bravery, anyone?

Bend The Frontman Rules

A frontman should be the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll, Brandon Flowers is the glaring exception to the rule. At 30-something, he is a married Mormon with 3 kids who has swapped cigarettes and alcohol for fatherhood and prayer. If that wasn’t enough, he is a walking contradiction, an enigma that can’t quite be figured out, even by those who play alongside him. Offstage, this mild-mannered man is an introvert, his shyness often confused for arrogance by journalists interviewing him. However, place him centre stage under a spotlight in front of thousands and he transforms; a flamboyant, charismatic showman who owns his crowd like a hypnotist controls an unwitting volunteer. Flowers has been known for his controversial comments; from his early days of verbally-bashing rival bands to his recent claim in an interview with Q that he is “the most rock ‘n’ roll person you’ll ever meet”, he keeps both fans and critics guessing and even if you think the guy’s an arsehole, you won’t be able to stop yourself from picking up his latest magazine interview just to find out what he’s been saying this time.

Love Americana and Britania

The Killers cite British bands, Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths and The Cure among their greatest influences and have always been open about their love affair with British indie music, however, 2 years on the road between 2004-2006 and the recurring confusion about their nationality made them feel homesick and like traitors to their nation. “Sam’s Town” saw them delve into more homegrown inspirations; The Cars, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty giving them the best of both worlds. Its this eclectic hybrid of both British and American influences that has allowed their sound to evolve and flourish and appeal to more and more people, it’s a recipe with ingredients to please almost everyone. The Killers have embraced the best of both their worlds, and YOU just can’t get enough of it!

Love them or loathe them, there is no denying that The Killers have come a long way and now you know how, in just 10 years, they have gone from 4 aspiring musicians playing anywhere that’d have them to a sold-out stint at Wembley Stadium. Piece of cake, huh?

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