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To kill a mockingbird

Shauna Rahman looks back at the highly-awaited The Killers/Bloc Party concert, which was hardly a Carlsberg moment.

Have The Killers lost their sparkle?“Mockingbirds are a group of New World passerine birds from the Mimidae family,” according to Wikipedia. “They are best known for the habit of mimicking the songs of other birds, often loudly and in rapid succession”.
This is a quote from an online encyclopedia, but one that is strangely accurate if it were to apply to The Killers (pictured) concert held in Marlay Park in Dublin this summer. Headliners are the musicians who have the honour of being the performers of the night and are safe in the knowledge that the innocent public are paying ‘through the nose’ to sample some of their talent. With tickets described as ‘gold-dust’ selling at just over €70 a pop, there was great expectations as to how good the concert would be. Would there be a new Killers’ album released off the back of the concert? Would there be any legendary cover songs to get the crowd going? What about some special effects? Would they play the infamous ‘Mr Brightside’?
After a rousing performance from Bloc Party where the crowd was cheering, the park was shaking and the music was flowing, that band made their exit to thunderous applause. Bloc Party are always unique, playing songs from their debut album ‘Silent Alarm’, which attracted the most attention from the audience, blended with some mellow tunes from the critically acclaimed ‘Weekend in the City’ and an introduction to the band’s brand new album ‘Intimacy’ just recently released. Bloc Party are a mix of black, white and Asian members, each blessed with a ferocious talent for the instruments they play. Why they weren’t headlining is anybody’s guess.
Enter Mr Flowers and his pop troupe to a frenzied chorus of applause, enthusiastic revellers racing to the stage and a general mix of mayhem at about 9.30pm. Cue a relatively distant, stream of tunes played so woodenly I had to pinch myself that this was the highlight of the night. Lacking in stage presence, oblivious to the crowds growing disinterest and unable to keep the Bloc Party buzz going, The Killers failed miserably in any attempt at maintaining their rock status as ‘rocking’ walked out of the park once their gig began.
Last year at Oxegen, The Killers proved an A-list band, even drawing the most loyal Daft Punk fans away to enjoy their evening slot. The passion and exquisite performance by Flowers, whose tonal pitch is second to none, brought the crowd into ecstasy and when the first chords of ‘Mr Brightside’drew recgonition across the fields of Punchestown, a weary crowd exhausted from three days of music madness turned into a mass of happy singing souls.
The Killers are known for their anthems but there only so much anthems that can carry through from one concert to another. Their songs are sounding too repetitive and too alike the many indie rock bands out there. Originality needs to be reigned in and maybe then the band can be proud of a quality performance. The Marlay fiasco is testament to this and maybe next time the promoters will see the niche for another band to make its mark and leave a satisfied crowd toil home to their beds with a money’s worth memory reminiscent of the Oxegen experience. Instead, there was a disappointed audience dragging their tails between their legs, sidling out of the park in Rathfarnham an hour after the band started, wondering where the soul The Killers claim they’ve got has gone.


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