Metro Weekly

Review: Brandon Flowers at Echostage

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Brandon Flowers at Echostage – Photo: Torey Mundkowsky

Brandon Flowers ran on stage Wednesday night, July 29, as his backing band launched into the same glorious song, “Dreams Come True,” that opens his new album. “Spend your life, bracing for the crash land. You forget, baby it’s a dreamland,” Flowers sang. The concert, presented by IMP Productions at Echostage, was certainly a dream-like display of pop showmanship by Flowers, who performed three songs from the band that made him a star, The Killers. He closed with a remixed version of the new wave/rock band’s first and still biggest hit, 2003’s hyper and intense “Mr. Brightside.”

But it was a concert especially geared to those most enraptured by The Desired Effect, Flowers’s second solo set, released two months ago and the source of almost half the concert’s 17-song setlist. All three songs that comprised his encore came from this exceptionally catchy and well-realized ‘80s-steeped album, most notably his newest single “I Can Change.” Flowers introduced the song as one inspired by Bronski Beat’s 1984 gay anthem “Smalltown Boy,” which it samples. It also includes Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys talk-singing the line, “And when you’re looking for a change,” in between Flowers singing about how he can change for a girl. Admittedly, the song is a bit problematic lyrically when viewed in context of its gay pedigree. But ultimately it should be enjoyed and appreciated as a tribute from Flowers, who is straight, to the many gay and queer pop stars who influenced and inspired the 33-year-old.

Brandon Flowers at Echostage - Photo: Torey Mundkowsky

Brandon Flowers at Echostage – Photo: Torey Mundkowsky

All in all, the concert was a showcase of Flowers’ powerful vocals and his captivating stage presence, further enhanced by his sharp backing band and especially his two dramatic female backup vocalists. No question this D.C. stop on the Desired Effect Tour achieved its titular goal.

Additional stops on The Desired Effect Tour:

  • 7/30 Electric Factory, Philadelphia
  • 7/31 House of Blues, Cleveland
  • 8/3 House of Blues, Boston
  • 8/4 Terminal 5, New York
  • 8/7 Squamish Valley Music Festival, Canada
  • 8/9 The Rave, Milwaukee
  • 8/10 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio
  • 8/11 The National, Richmond, Va.
  • 8/13 The Fillmore, Charlotte, N.C.
  • 8/14 The Ritz, Raleigh, N.C.
  • 8/15 Norva, Norfolk, Va.
  • 8/17 Tabernacle, Atlanta
  • 8/18 Beacham Theater, Orlando, Fla.
  • 8/19 The Fillmore Miami Beach, Miami
  • 8/29 Hellow Fest, Monterrey, Mexico
  • 9/2 Fox Theater, Oakland, Calif.
  • 9/3 Roseland Theater, Portland, Ore.
  • 9/5 Sonic Boom, Edmonton, Canada
  • 9/6 X-Fest, Calgary, Canada
  • 9/7 Seattle Center, Seattle
  • 9/10 First Avenue, Minneapolis
  • 9/11 Riviera Theater, Chicago
  • 9/12-13 Loufest, St. Louis
  • 9/24 Summer Ends Music Festival, Tempe, Ariz.
  • 9/25 Life Is Beautiful Festival, Las Vegas
  • 10/1 Tricky Falls, El Paso, Tex.
  • 10/2-4 Austin City Limits, Austin, Tex.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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