Gambling men 

The Killers capture the gist of Vegas by turning up the volume

click to enlarge Johnny was surprised to see he was the only one to - receive the now-infamous glam-rock dress-up day - memo.
  • Johnny was surprised to see he was the only one to receive the now-infamous glam-rock dress-up day memo.

The Killers' triple-platinum first CD, Hot Fuss, really didn't give fans much of a sense that the band emerged from the sinful, colorful city of Las Vegas.

More often, the group was confused with a recent influx of British acts because of its new-wave keyboard sound and dancehall feel.

But The Killers may truly have gone Vegas with their brand new CD, Sam's Town. The disc mimics qualities of the band's hometown: It's got a neon-bright, big-as-life personality, and a serious sense that fun awaits at every turn.

At least, that's how Killers singer Brandon Flowers sees it.

"It's a beautiful place," Flowers says, speaking by phone about his hometown. "It's in the Mojave Desert, and everything's red and gray and purple and brown, and it's wonderful. Then, you've got the glitz of the city. I think we managed to take it into the dirt, up in the mountains, and then there are parts where you go back into the city."

Everything about The Killers, who came together in 2001, seems bigger and bolder with their latest album.

"It's just a natural thing," Flowers says. "We've been going away from home so much, and we wanted to have a connection with where we're from. It is a big arena, where we live."

The songs of Sam's Town are anthemic in sound and scope, with wall-of-sound guitars supplemented by strings and horns on some tracks and the pop hooks to match. Even Flowers' modest vocals of Hot Fuss have grown to take on a Bono-ish sense of drama.

In supersizing their sound, The Killers Flowers, guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. also may reshape their image as the leaders of a wave of groups whose retro influences range from Bauhaus to the Cure to the Cars and Depeche Mode.

Flowers feels Sam's Town reflects a wider range of influences than Hot Fuss.

"We didn't love it," Flowers says of the '80s-retro tag. "I understand how people want to tie things, and we use keyboards and we like a lot of the music from the '80s, so it's going to come out. We weren't necessarily making an effort to shed that. We weren't saying, "OK, well, we don't want to be called '80s anymore.'"

Instead, Flowers says, the resources the band was afforded in recording its second album allowed it to capture a greater range of sounds.

"We're influenced by the '50s and the '60s and the '70s and the '90s, too," he says. "I think it all kind of shows its face on there."

And The Killers have planned a live show to suit a larger sound.

"We're big fans of [David Bowie's] Ziggy Stardust and things like that, with the theater aspect Elton John and Queen and all that," he says. "So we're trying to apply that to these songs.

"These songs, they lend themselves to the fairground, so we're going to try and bring that. We're taking the show on the road. It's going to be a futuristic fairground."

The Killers

Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., Denver

Sunday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $30.25, 16-plus, sold out; look for tickets around the venue.


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