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indie overnight

Experiencing the Flaming Lips at Maverick Festival 2016

"Okay hold up," says front man Wayne Coyne, halting the third song of their set at San Antonio's Maverick Festival in it's place. "The 'chop-chops' are an indication as to how the rest of the show is gonna go. Let's go again." The Flaming Lips kicked back into their famous "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1" and when the time came the audience screamed "CHOP CHOP" with such intensity that all of La Villita shook. As the band played through several songs from 'Clouds Taste Metallic', 'At War With the Mystics', and 'The Soft Bulletin', the San Antonio crowd got the real Flaming Lips experience: seemingly out of place stage props, copious amounts of confetti, a back-lit stage that transformed the band into grooving silhouettes. But in the back of everyone's minds there was something in particular, something special that they were waiting for, and that finally arrived when Coyne said "What made Bowie great is that - well, he was great - but he was also just a man." The crowd exploded. 

Wayne Coyne within the human-sized hamster ball. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Current. 

Wayne Coyne within the human-sized hamster ball. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Current. 

"This is Ground Control to Major Tom!" belted Wayne Coyne from the inside of his famous human-sized hamster ball floating above the San Antonio crowd gathered in La Villita on April 9th. The San Antonio audience radiated with an energy that's only ever seen when the Spurs win the Championships. A few days prior to their performance as the finale of what could be the last Maverick Festival, the Flaming Lips hinted on Twitter that they were going to pay tribute to the late David Bowie and ever since the town was a buzz and tickets were disappearing. Well the weirdos of rock did not disappoint and Bowie was well revered. 

The crowd sang along with Coyne to their much anticipated "Do You Realize??" which closed out the very long and exciting night. If this was the final Maverick Festival then it will have been one for San Antonio to look back on and remember fondly. And if Bowie was listening, I think he would agree that the festival, the music, and the people really made the grade. 

What ever Happened to The Killers?

 

By: Caroline Grand

Fun fact: After attending an Oasis concert at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Brandon Flowers heard the call to become a rock star.  

While that sounds like the kind of cringe-worthy inspiration story you might hear from the drunken frontman of A Promising Local Band, Flowers actually made it happen.  After connecting with guitarist Dave Keuning and going through a series of lineup changes (including a weird but wonderful brief stint by struggling actor Owen Wilson), The Killers released their debut album Hot Fuss in 2004 to international commercial and critical acclaim.

The Killers were named The World's Best Selling New Group at the 2005 World Music Awards, the same year they won the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist and were also nominated for three Grammy Awards. The band was recognized by Rolling Stone as the "best-selling new rock band of the past year" in June 2005.  “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me” were overplayed to death while Flowers was (aptly) named both Sexiest and Best Dressed Man at the NME Awards.

So what happened?

Predictably, fame seemed to go a little to Flowers’ head. The grandiose bravado of The Killers, exemplified in the use of a gospel choir for their Coachella set, and Flowers’ widely publicized  claims of superiority in the post-punk scene set the band up for future backlash. The release of their follow-up album Sam’s Town marked the slow but steady decline of Flowers’ Oasis-fueled dream.  While Sam’s Town includes equally as over-playable hits (see: “When You Were Young”), the “gypsy-chic” album strongly divided critical opinion, earning only a scathing 2 star review in Rolling Stone magazine and selling less than one-third the amount of copies of its predecessor in the United States.  

While 2008’s Day and Age fared a little better with its introduction of New Age-y synths and feathered shoulder pads, the release of its lead single, “Human,” sparked viral confusion about the song’s lyrics (dancer or denser?) and subsequent conflicting interpretations of the song’s meaning.  In an interview with Rolling Stone, Flowers remarked in a modern feat of PR destruction that he was irritated over the confusion about the lyric and the song’s dance beat: “It's supposed to be a dance song, [the beat] goes with the chorus...If you can't put that together, you're an idiot. I just don't get why there's a confusion about it.” “Human” was so far removed from the band’s early hits that most fans had to look up whether it was really produced by the Killers, and it would later be voted “weirdest lyric of all time” in a 2014 Blinkbox survey.

On that promising note, The Killers announced that they would go on hiatus in 2010, during which Flowers released his theatrical solo album Flamingo, indicative of wunderkind persona which propelled The Killers and may have very well destroyed them.  The Killers made their formal return with the 2012 release Battle Born, but by that time, the indie/alternative scene had ceased to take notice of them, having largely moved on from The Strokes/Arctic Monkeys era, and Battle Born, like its two predecessors, failed to perform commercially and critically.  I remember briefly seeing a Battle Born poster in a Hot Topic window and shuddering.

In the classic tale of bands that peaked way too early, The Killers marked the dying gasps of its rock powerhouse with the release of a greatest hits compilation in 2013: the sure sign of a band on its sad but timely way out, to be played only during waves of extreme nostalgia.  Like all good things that refuse to die, Flowers has announced that The Killers plan on releasing new music in 2016--yet one can’t help but wonder, in the immortal words of Flowers himself:

"How did it end up like this?"

Coming Soon: KRTUesdays

This spring, KRTU Indie Overnight will be launching KRTUesdays - a new indie concert series that aims to give exposure to local and regional up-and-coming bands.

KRTUesdays is launching in partnership with The Mix, a St. Mary's institution that has recently undergone renovations.

Each concert of the series will be broadcast live on KRTU 91.7 FM, also available via the web.

Stay tuned for dates and bands!