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Spring Housing Guide

Flowers solo show highlights frontman’s talents

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Brandon Flowers may just be the most awkward human being on the face of the Earth. Yet that’s part of his charm.

Flowers, the lead singer of the Killers, who are currently on hiatus, is touring on his own in support of his album, “Flamingo.” He isn’t the best with communicating with the audience, and when he does talk, he often stumbles and stammers. Yet even with these hang-ups, it’s very clear watching Flowers that he belongs on stage singing his heart out for an audience.

At Flowers’ Nov. 24 show at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Mich., it was nearly impossible to see him without a smile on his face. Even during serious songs, Flowers looked like a kid in a candy store, filled with happiness and a sense of gratitude for being able to perform.

When he opened the show with “On the Floor,” a reflective song filled with religious undertones, Flowers showed the audience that while he was confident in his abilities as a performer, he owed a lot of his talent and success to a higher power. Flowers isn’t shy about his Mormon faith, and this song shows that his solo career helps him write very personal songs that may not fit with the Killers’ repertoire.

Whether the songs were up-tempo or slower, Flowers put his all into the performances, and the audience got in the zone with him. When he played his lead single, “Crossfire,” the power of his performance palpitated through the venue, and the massive smile on Flowers’ face was also reflected via the singing, clapping and jumping from the audience.

Flowers’ voice sounded strong throughout the night. He performed each song from “Flamingo,” making all of them sound better than they do on the album. “Magdalena” and “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts,” in particular, helped to keep the audience moving.

Flowers feeds off and relies on the crowd’s enthusiasm during upbeat songs, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t know how to keep the crowd in the palm of his own hand. “The Clock Was Tickin’,” a country-sounding bonus track from the album, is likely about the life of his mother, who died in February.

The ode to a middle-class working family is a bittersweet tale of the American dream gone awry with lyrics like “The house is quiet now and everything inside it seems to know she’s gone, there’s a picture of you both 16 years old just kissing, and that clock up on the wall was tickin’.” The reflective song helped Flowers personally connect with the audience, and the song proved that he was versatile when it came to the music he wrote.

Even though this was not a Killers show, Flowers did not forget his roots, performing the band’s “Losing Touch,” as well as a beautiful, simple acoustic take on their 2006 hit “When You Were Young” at the show’s end. He also teased the audience, mentioning other Killers’ songs, much to the crowd’s delight, and then added that he was not going to play them.

As another surprise, Flowers brought out opener Fran Healy, the lead singer for Scottish band Travis, to join him during a performance of the Travis song “Side.” It was Healy’s last night opening for Flowers, and during his set, he frequently expressed adoration for Flowers. So, to show his love for Flowers, he came on stage for the “Side” performance in bright pink pants and a cut-off T-shirt with “I love Brandon” written on it. Flowers said he “did not expect that,” but the distraction didn’t prevent him from delivering a great performance with Healy. The Royal Oak crowd got to experience this moment of brotherly love, and it helped to cap off a powerful show.

Judging Flowers by his off-stage persona, which is often characterized semi-outrageous, fictitious exaggerations of grandiose and petty fights with other bands, would be wrong. Because it’s on stage where Flowers thrives; he clearly loves performing, and the positive energy he brings to his live shows helps fans connect with his music.

Whether he is with the Killers or solo, Flowers is a rock star, and delivers exceptional performances.

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