This was a very good gig but was prevented form soaring to the heights of greatness by the poor sound quality and the miniscule stage that meant you felt as if you were at the cinema, but were watching a portable TV on a stool instead of the big screen.
This, combined with the pea soup sound quality meant that the band struggles to assert themselves and you were aware of the size of the arena.
I have seen Stereophonics and Muse here and it isn’t the fault of the venue, and I suspect the band were aware of the sound problem, stopping during “Indie Rock and Roll” resulting in filthy looks (and language) being directed at the control stage in the centre of the dance floor.
The Killers posses a clean and crisp sound on record reminding me of Simple Minds circa “Sons and Fascination”, with a dollop of Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, Kraftwerk and New Order thrown in for good measure, thus the poor quality of the sound was a real problem especially on the poppier songs (“Somebody Told Me”) where the lightness of the keyboard contrasts with a heavier bass line.
Nevertheless it was enjoyable and I realised that I likes the second album “Sam’s Town” much more than I realised.
There was a glut of great debut albums in 2004/05 (Editors, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Killers, Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, Hard Fi and the Go! Team) and now these bands are starting to release their second offerings, the business end which will help us judge if they are going to have any sense of longevity in the industry.
“Hot Fuss” was the Killers contribution, and whilst patchy it contains some absolute belters including “Mr.Brightside”, “Somebody Told Me” and “All these Things That I’ve Done” which are great catchy pop tunes, allied to the reflective “Smile Like You Mean It”, “Indie Rock and Roll” plus the heavier sound of “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” meaning that any follow up had a high standard to maintain.
They supported U2 when we saw them in Cardiff and delivered a blistering set. I thought then, if given a good slot, they could have used Live 8 in the way the Irishmen benefited from a good set twenty years previously to gain a wider audience, but were only given one song in mid afternoon. Nevertheless they promised much.
I found “Sam’s Town”, initially anyway, a bit bland and it has the air of treading water but the gig showcased these tracks in a better way, despite the sound problems, making them weightier with a certain hypnotic quality which doesn’t come across otherwise.
The video below was shot by your truly.
Overall a “Could Do Better” comment seems appropriate (the gig, not the video).
As usual we were seated in the wheelchair/special needs area which, at this Arena is second to non and with quick and easy access. Next to us was a guy on crutches whose mate came bounding up to him asking; "What’s it like to sit with the spastics uuurrgghh?". Mildly amusing the first time and I suspect it’s the type of humour me and my friends have been known to indulge in regarding my situation. BUT, we do it amongst ourselves, a bit like bad language, OK if it doesn’t impinge on others. But when the bloke did it for the third time, I felt like saying summat, but he looked a bit hard.