The Killers Keep It Rolling in Sugar Land

The Killers wowed a packed house on Friday night at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.
The Killers wowed a packed house on Friday night at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. Photo by Clint Hale
The Killers are an interesting band as it pertains to the modern-day scene. They aren’t exactly current enough to get lumped in with bands like Imagine Dragons or The War on Drugs, nor are they some throwback nostalgia act looking to cash in on good records past.

In fact, the Killers are almost a synth version of the Foo Fighters. Sure, their best commercial days may be far behind them, but damn if that won’t stop the band from putting out new material and a show to match. The Killers proved as much on Friday night before a sold out show at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.

Now, I’ve made no secret of the fact that the Killers are my favorite band. Despite the fact that the genre on which they based their biggest hits – namely, '80s based synth pop-rock – wasn’t really my thing, I latched on to the band quickly after the release of their smash debut, Hot Fuss. And while others abandoned ship after the band’s underrated and misunderstood sophomore LP, Sam’s Town, I was only drawn to the band further as they attempted (successfully, IMO) to create the great American rock record.

Point being, the Killers have never been a band that shied away from the spotlight. Frontman Brandon Flowers, one of the more underrated frontmen in rock today, has never backed down from his stance that the Vegas-based quartet came to entertain and stake its claim as the preeminent band in rock today. And while they’re not the commercial force they were in the mid-aughts, Flowers and company more than proved their mettle before a sold-out crowd in Sugar Land.

Taking the stage around 9:30 p.m., the Killers launched into some new materials from the get-go with “Run for Cover,” the best track from their new album, Wonderful Wonderful. Having read set lists from previous shows on this tour, the Killers changed things up a notch.

What followed was two hours of power from one of the biggest rock bands of the past 20 years. Simply put, Flowers knows how to work a crowd. He gives them the hits (“Somebody Told Me”) only to work in more obscure tracks like “The Way it Was” and B-sides like “Shot at the Night.” It’s rare to catch a Killers show in which you go three tracks without one hit, and this is no accident. For starters, the Killers have been around long enough to amass such a catalog, and secondly, Flowers is a brilliant enough tactician to blend his set list between hits and tracks for the devoted.

Flowers and company plowed through 90 minutes of fan favorites before an encore that featured arguably the band’s biggest hits – “When You Were Young” and “Mr Brightside.” It marked a fitting end to one of the better shows you’ll find in rock music today. I’m not sure when, or if, the Killers make their way back to the Houston area, but I only hope I’m around to see it.

So, How Was The Opener?: Arrived just in time to see some dude in a silver cape anchoring the opener. Didn’t catch the name, and wasn’t overly impressed.

How Was the Crowd? Older than you’d expect. I was 21 when the Killers broke into the big time, so I expected a crowd of mid-late 30 somethings. Turns out, the Killers fan base in Houston skews slightly older than I expected, and I got carded in the beer line. Way it goes, I guess.

Random Notebook Dump: Brandon Flowers is pretty much the best rock showman in the game today … Wonderful Wonderful is such an underrated album, as is every Killers release post-Sam’s Town … Smart Financial Centre was a great venue choice; not too big, not too small … I’ll always mark out for “All These Things That I’ve Done,” perhaps my favorite song of all time.
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Clint Hale enjoys music and writing, so that kinda works out. He likes small dogs and the Dallas Cowboys, as you can probably tell. Clint has been writing for the Houston Press since April 2016.
Contact: Clint Hale