16/10/2010 | Brandon Flowers – Academy, Manchester

Catherine May

Whilst he may be more used to arenas, when going it alone Brandon Flowers finds himself in the smaller academies on his first UK solo tour. Tonight the venue is packed with everyone ranging from the fourteen year old screaming girls to the middle-aged couples living out their rock dreams. Placing myself near the front of the crowd, I had only planned to stay there for a bit to get some photos and then move back to a place where I could both breathe and enjoy the music. But then the music started playing and I knew that there was no way out, nor did I want to leave.

The opening notes of On the Floor brought the crowd to life; his stage presence unmissable, Flowers worked the audience giving the impression that he quite liked being in a smaller venue to those he was able to play in of late with The Killers.  Crossfire was also a fan favourite with his vocals rising above the guitars and drum kit to serenade the room. Whilst a few technical issues meant that there was a slip up in Magdalena, the crowd barely cared as they got swept away with his cover of Bette Davis Eyes. A stunning rendition, his voice was genuinely suited to the song.

To introduce his next number he said that whilst “Manchester is my music home” the next song was about his physical home. The crowd was abuzz with screams of “Las Vegas” and as just he and the guitarists broke into Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, I got my first chance to experience the true crafting of Flowers’ voice.  A softer song, it was clearly a personal number for Flowers as he stayed near the microphone throughout, often clenching his fist to grab at the emotion. The set continued with the throws of rock clashing with the odd moment of vocal serenity, Swallow It was a particular favourite of mine and worthy of a mention, before culminating in Playing With Fire. The audience screamed, jumped and did everything within their means to show their excitement and as he left the stage we all cheered until his enthusiastic presence returned.

The Clock Was Tickin had the audience’s vocal chords tested once more, before the final song that left the audience wanting so much more. A stripped back version of The Killers’ hit When You Were Young allowed for Flowers to perform this song in the way he remembers from when they first wrote it. A slower tempo matched with his ever-strong vocals created an incredible performance that I certainly won’t be forgetting any time soon.

This leads me to my final thought from the night: Was it a good move to stray from the might of The Killers? Yes. If that gig was anything to go by, it most definitely was.

www.brandonflowersmusic.com