Concert preview: Dissecting the Killers. Magnificent shmucks or just shmucks? We discuss.

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From the August 1, 2013 edition

Chris DeVille:I was watching an old episode of “The O.C.”this week, and The Killers were playing at the fictional venue The Bait Shop. This seemed crazy because (a) The Killers were once ostensibly an indie bandand (b) they looked the part. They came off like regular people, not rock stars.

U2, the band The Killers most closely resemble, went through a phase like that before becoming bigger than life. U2 gets a bad rap for such bombastic ambition and apparent self-regard, but in The Killers’ case, I prefer the superhuman version by a wide marginAnthems as big as the sky deservedemigods, right?

Justin McIntosh: Absolutely. The first and only time I’ve seen The Killers live was way back in 2005 in Cleveland. They hadn’t quite realized their potential (read: ambition) and lead singer Brandon Flowers was a little shy onstage. It was awkward, which somewhat surprised me, especially in hindsight — like, say, a year later when Sam’s Town came out and suddenly Flowers a Rock Star. Or at least positioned himself as one.

Chris DeVille: Speaking of Sam’s Town, “When You Were Young” is what converted me. If Springsteen isn’t going to write songs like that anymore, somebody should

I later came around on “Mr. Brightside,” but at first they weren’t taking it fully over the top like it deservedThe more ridiculously outsized this band gets, the more I buy it. Arena rock is a form of musical theater.

They certainly make missteps — the words “Are we human, or are we dancer?” come to mind— but such blatheronly authenticatearena rock archetype they’re trying to inhabit. Pour on the pomposity, boys!

Justin McIntosh: If there’s one thing missing from modern rock music, it’s certainly pomposity. Or Rock Stars. Instead we get indie bands trying to maintain street cred while selling songs to car commercials. Why not just go for it? Why not try conquering the world through rock music? No one else is stepping up. Chris Martin and Coldplay don’t have it in them. Jack White’s got the artistic merits, but not the shamelessness. In the end, we might not ever remember The Killers as The Greatest Rock Band of the Aughts, but at least they shot for that star. That’s more than most are doing, and in the interim, we’ll at least enjoy the spectacle.