Over the course of their decade-long career, the Killers have managed to try on as many guises as a show band from their native Las Vegas — cloaking themselves in everything from post-punk darkness to Springsteen-styled heartland colors. At this Gotham gig, staged in advance of the September release of their “Battle Born” album, however, the group managed to present all those facets at once, without creating a crazy-quilt in the process.One gig removed from an 18-month hiatus, the quartet showed minor rust in terms of sonics, but nothing but well-oiled gears as far as presentation. Radio staples like “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me” elicited the expected singalongs — and high-fives — from the largely male aud, but response was nearly as strong to the catalog obscurities that peppered the 90-minute set. The lesser-known cuts afforded more of a chance for the quartet to stretch out, which it took good advantage of on “Spaceman,” which was cleaved by an only mildly funky, but affable percussive breakdown, and “Higher and Higher,” on which frontman Brandon Flowers led a soccer-crowd styled chant session. Foursome delved into the impending album more than might’ve been expected, proffering not only the first single, “Runaways” (which has gotten solid support from rock radio in its first two weeks of release), but three more cuts as well. Of these, “Miss Atomic Bomb” had the most immediate impact, in large part due to Flowers’ grippingly yelping delivery, but it was the shimmering “Here On Out” (keyed by Dave Keuning’s lithe guitar work) that marked itself as most likely to be remembered down the road. For better and worse, the band declined to shrink the size of its show to fit the considerably smaller environs, making for lighting and sound mixes that were a bit too overwhelming and, on Flowers’ part, plenty of gestures that were a bit too sweeping and theatrical for a club stage. Still, the genuine enthusiasm apparent onstage — a marked difference from the last time The Killers were seen in these parts — bodes well for their return to more fittingly-sized venues.
Webster Hall; 1300 capacity; $55 top
Presented by Bowery Presents.
Band: Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, Danny Vannucci. Reviewed July 23rd, 2012.