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The Killers 

When: Tue., Aug. 13 2013
national indie rock act. 7:30 p.m.

The Killers are emblematic of their Vegas upbringing: Long on spectacle and epic sprawl, but lacking in substance. If Bruce Springsteen mined dance-happy new wave and gloomy Britpop instead of Philly soul, he’d probably be embarrassed, but he might explore the same anthemic, grandly emotional music of Brandon Flowers and the Killers. It’s really not the Killers’ fault; U2 already strip-mined this territory to great effect. Like the Boss, the Killers’ dramatic songs are about scrappy underdogs and love that won’t surrender. It’s designed to translate to an arena, so everything’s overly expressive which is to say, big, loud, and safe as a Hollywood ending — not to mention wildly derivative. On their hit “Runaways” (which begins like “Jack and Diane” as reimagined by The Cars), Flowers sings, “Let’s take a chance/ Baby we can’t lose/ Ain’t we all just runaways?” — which, of course, is what you say when you’re “Born to Run.” It’s not bad music, although fellow earnest arena rockers Muse are more impressive sonically, but it’s hard to deny the Killers’ gift for crafting catchy, swelling choruses. Seriously, “Somebody Told Me” has one of the best choruses of the past decade. —Chris Parker NEXT TUESDAY

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