A near-death experience and a move from their beloved Vegas hasn’t stopped The Killers delivering a classic in ‘Wonderful Wonderful’. Mark Beaumont meets a band still glowing

Presented with Jeffrey Dahmer’s glasses, and the chance to see through the eyes of a real serial murderer, The Killers’ true natures leap out. Brandon Flowers hovers back, intrigued but wary, as though the frames themselves are oozing evil. “One of the guys who escaped, his surname was Flowers,” says the frontman in dread tones.

Guitarist Dave Keuning peers over shoulders at the stained, gold-rimmed spectacles, brought along to the Milwaukee Rave Club by a friend of the band who happened to have been Dahmer’s defence lawyer, nodding coolly but not getting too involved. But drummer Ronnie Vannucci dives straight in, whips them onto his face and gets a picture taken. “Is this too cheeseballs?” he asks.

The Rave’s backstage area might have been turned into a Bedouin tent of hanging patterned drapes – “we didn’t request this,” says a slightly embarrassed Brandon – but it masks a deadly history. A patch of gravel across the street is all that remains of the building where Dahmer killed and dismembered several of his 17 victims, and the broad ballroom of The Rave itself is reputedly haunted.

The Killers' Brandon Flowers

The voices of dead children are said to echo around the underground swimming pool, an angry voice has told interlopers in the boiler room to “Get out!” and bands have claimed they’ve felt ‘watched’ from the upper balconies during soundchecks. Did you sense any unseen presence, Brandon? “No,” smiles Brandon. “But I always feel watched. I don’t know if it’s to do with being raised a believer, but I do feel like someone is watching me.”

Because they are – in their millions. Flowers’ supernova star quality draws gazes like an eclipse, and never more so than in the run-up to The Killers’ fifth album ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, considering that it’s a record of deep personal revelations made by a battle-worn band seemingly in disarray, with their bassist quitting tours and their gang mentality hanging by a thread. “A lot of eggshells are walked on,” Brandon admits. “We’ve had some counselling sessions.”

Counselling sessions? Like, a full-on Metallica balls-on- the-table deal? “It was basically a communication session,” says Ronnie. “We’re four dudes that don’t want to communicate, don’t know how to communicate, how to lay it out. We needed some lessons. I think it’s healthy. If you don’t clear the air there’s a lot of separation. Cracks start to feel like wedges then canyons, and then paranoia builds up and you misconstrue everything.” Did it improve relations? “Yeah, it cut through the bullshit. On tour you don’t wanna rock the boat too much, and it taught that, instead of letting something go an entire six week tour, if something happens f***ing deal with it right there.”

How The Killers got from the therapist’s couch to a record as inspired, exploratory and plain wonderful as ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ is a story of deep soul-searching, historic abuse, near-death experiences and jam sessions with Prince Harry. And it starts 30,000 feet over Colombia, with a one-way ticket to the afterlife.

The Killers couldn’t understand the pilot’s panicked Spanish crackling over the intercom, but they knew it meant trouble. This wasn’t just your standard turbulence, this was flying-through- the-gates- of-Hell- in-a- hang-glider turbulence, and whatever the pilot was saying it equated to ‘kiss your asses goodbye’.

“It was… ominous,” Brandon says, recalling the worst private plane trip of the already strained tour for 2012’s fourth album ‘Battle Born’. “They were having trouble and we could feel it.” What was going through your mind? “My initial though was ‘I wish I was just a busboy again because I’d rather be alive and grinding day-in- day-out than die like this’.”

For bassist Mark Stoermer it was another straw breaking his tour-ravaged back. From 15 years he’d struggled with vans and tour bus bunks too small to accommodate his 6ft 5in frame. His back issues were making it agonising to carry a bass for an entire gig. What’s more, after a hotchpotch of recording sessions with the five different producers on ‘Battle Born’, Mark felt distanced from the album and increasingly keen to follow studies in art and philosophy. As the final round of Asian dates came in, he told his bandmates he wouldn’t play them, or that many more future shows.

For most bands on the brink, that’s game over. But to Mark’s surprise, The Killers quickly worked out a way for him to remain an in-the- studio member. “Everybody accepted it and, you know, didn’t fire him – which he was totally open for,” Ronnie recalls. “I think he was expecting it. We were just like, ‘Dude, we get it, you need a break, I think we can make this work’. And we did make it work. It’s the best f***ing job in the world for me, but I get that it’s not like that for everybody. It’s frustrating, if somebody doesn’t want to tour and you’re making them tour or they’re begrudgingly going on tour, I don’t want to be around that.”

“We are four different people,” Brandon adds. “We’ve grown over the years, but we didn’t all necessarily become the same man. We didn’t grow together, we all pursued different things, but that’s what being in a band is, the give and the take, the push and the pull. That’s what makes The Killers The Killers.”

“We’ve had the same conversation with Dave, where Dave might wanna take some time off too,” Ronnie says. “He wants to raise his kid and it’s not always conducive for schooling and stuff to bring an 11-year- old out on the road for two years. Whatever keeps everybody in the car. I miss Mark but I’d much rather deal with it like an adult now rather than in 10-20 years hinking, ‘We coulda still been a band’.”

The Killers that reconvened at Battle Born Studios in Las Vegas to start writing their fifth album in October 2015 had undergone more upheavals than a Bey’n’Jay Bake Off special. There’d been group therapy to help heal their unspoken rifts, their bassist had gone part-time, Ronnie, Mark and Brandon had made celebrated offshoot albums, Ronnie had gone through a divorce and lost his father early in the sessions and, like a glittery raven leaving a fake Eiffel Tower, Brandon was planning to move out of Vegas to Utah, leaving Mark as the only Vegas resident. “Is this the beginning of the end for Las Vegas?” Brandon laughs. “It’s all going downhill from here. They’ve legalised pot and The Killers are leaving town.”

Though they pinned down a full-time producer in Jacknife Lee, the band themselves were semi-present for the sessions. Often they’d work individually or in pairs – Mark, rejuvenated in his studio role, forged many of the tracks with Brandon. As with the early ‘Battle Born’ sessions though, The Killers “were lost for a long time” and “circling the drain” for five or six months until a “keystone track” fell into place.

The Killers' Brandon Flowers

The keystone track for ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ was ‘Rut’, an amorphous soft rocker delving into the dark times engulfing Chez Flowers. “My wife has PTSD,” Brandon explains. “She has a version called Complex PTSD. It’s when a person has had multiple traumatic experiences. Her whole life, she’s been covering it, pretending it isn’t there. For whatever reason, in her 30s, it’s decided to really manifest itself and that’s what I’m going through with my family. Usually I feel protective of her but I decided to take it head on. So ‘Rut’ is about her submitting to it. She got severely depressed and it wasn’t until she sought counselling and got a name for what was going on that it helped. Now she submits to it – that doesn’t mean that she’s gonna let it beat her, but rather that she’s gonna finally acknowledge that it’s there and promise to break this cycle.”

It emerges that Tana’s suicidal thoughts were the cause of Brandon cutting short his tour for ‘The Desired Effect’ and the root of the Flowers family’s move to Utah, since Vegas holds bad memories for her. Tana’s struggle became the driving force of ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ too. The title track, a psych afrofunk adventure that sets an experimental tone for the album, references Tana as a “motherless child” being rescued by God, the couple’s Mormon faith acting as a safety net. Tana’s reservations about having her private issues splashed across the new Killers album evaporated as the songs won her over. “It bonded me and Tana in a way that I never foresaw,” Brandon says, “because it helped me to understand her better and be more compassionate.”

Brandon’s personal doubts also hang heavy. ‘Have All The Songs Been Written’ (featuring a guest solo from Mark Knopfler and a title suggested by Bono) tackles that early-sessions writer’s block that had him questioning the whole point of the band (“Rolling Stone ranked all 73 Smiths songs and I looked at them and I was humbled at how good every f***ing single one of them was – it just made me want to quit”). And album highlight ‘Tyson Vs Douglas’ recalls a boxing match from 1990 that the seemingly unbeatable Iron Mike lost, opening young Brandon’s eyes to the fact that giants can fall. It suggests he’s worried his own kids might one day see him culturally KO’d. “Yeah, it’s me talking about how I don’t want to let my family down. I’m not perfect and I have my temptations – sometimes I do question my strengths.”

He’s been questioning the world around him too. ‘Run For Cover’ – originally written for 2008’s ‘Day & Age’ – contains The Killers’ first overt political references, full of cheating senators and “fake news”. Have things got so bad that you couldn’t stay apolitical anymore? Brandon nods. “My curiosity might be more piqued and I’m checking the news more often. You cannot say you’re not affected by politics, it’s seeped its way through. It seems inconceivable that Trump is gonna accomplish all of it and it’s a bunch of bullshit for lack of a better word. It sounds terrible that this person was elected but I got to believe that he’s either gonna get impeached or in three years he’ll be replaced by someone better. He’s not going to build a wall in three years.” But we could have a war with North Korea in three hours. “I know, and I hope not, but North Korea have been threatening that even since Obama was there, it’s just now we have someone who’s more aggressive than Obama would’ve been.”“On the surface the guy just seems like a crazy person,” says Ronnie, “he seems totally unfit for the job, he’s just going f***ing batshit crazy.”

The Killers' Brandon Flowers

Despite doubts, drop-outs, depressions and Drumpf, The Killers remain unbowed. A month before the Milwaukee show, NME caught up with Brandon backstage at Bilbao BBK festival, on his customary on-the- road high. He enthused about breaking new territories at festivals in Northern Spain, Greece and across Europe, about ‘hubbing’ out of the Cotswolds and hitting stages with a clutch of new songs he truly believes in rather than “just keeping the machine going” with ‘Battle Born’. From side of stage, The Killers’ murderous magic is in full force, daring to open with ‘Mr Brightside’ like their 22-year- old me-me- me-men were still alive and posing today.

In Milwaukee, with the news looming that Dave will also be sitting out the coming run of ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ shows, Brandon’s just as upbeat, stressing that the new touring arrangements may mean there’ll be a sixth Killers album before a third solo one. As our time wraps up, like the model interviewee handing in way overdue homework, Brandon brings up a question I asked him some years ago: what do The Killers stand for?

“I didn’t have an answer,” he says, “but I thought about it. I think that we’re about belief. Our songs may not always be exclusively about a person but it sure as hell is for the people and that’s what I think resonates with people about this band. That we are genuine and real, and we are not going anywhere anytime soon.” Truly wonderful news.



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VegfestUK London 2017

VegfestUK London 2017

Oct 21, 11:00am - Oct 22, 5:00pm

Olympia London
Hammersmith Road, Kensington
London,  W14 8UX Map

VegfestUK, organisers of some of Europe’s biggest vegan events, now in their 15th year, have confirmed dates for their 5th annual event at Olympia London on October 21st 22nd 2017.

Highlights of the event will include:

- Easy Veganism area
- Professional Health Summit
- Vegan Athletes Summit
- Environmental and Food Sustainability Summit
- Animal Rights Summit
- Radical Veganism Corner
- Vegan Comedy Festival
- Vegan Film Festival
- Activists Corner
- Cookery Demos,
- Living Raw Zone,
- Mature Zone,
- Teen Zone,
- Main Stage
and more TBA...

The event is expected to attract around 15,000 visitors and over 250 stalls with a variety of specialist vegan caterers, bars, juice bars, food outlets, health and lifestyle stalls, information and campaigns.

The event will follow on from VegfestUK Trade, the UK’s first dedicated vegan trade and media show, to be held at Olympia on Friday October 20th 2017. The Friday event will only be open to trade and media, and won’t be open to the public. Further details on the trade event are here: www.trade.vegfest.co.uk

Tickets are on sale at £12 for adults and £8 for concessions (plus booking fees), with BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE offers running for limited periods only. Kids under 16 get free entry.

The announcement follows from a hugely successful event in 2016 visited by 13,500 people, on top of 1,500 people working to ensure a marvellous weekend for all. Full summary of VegfestUK London 2016 is here: bit.ly/2eMhdtI

Follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @VegfestUK, and on Youtube www.youtube.com/vegfestuktv

Also check out many other interesting vegan events across the UK, at www.vegfest.co.uk

and VegfestUK's very own free online vegan magazine The Vegfest Express: www.vegfestexpress.co.uk

Please note we do not allow resales of tickets on this page, but as long as the bar code scans and the tickets are only used once, they may be given away, swapped, sold or exchanged by the ticket purchaser. Ticket enquiries should be addressed to info@theticketsellers.co.uk
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8728 interested  ·  2701 going
Festival of The Dead Comes To Edinburgh

Festival of The Dead Comes To Edinburgh

Oct 28, 10:00pm - Oct 29, 3:00am

Cav Edinburgh
3 West Tollcross
Edinburgh,  EH3 9BP Map

Cav, Edinburgh - 28th October 2017

Ticket Link ☞ 2018.festivalofthedead.co.uk/web/

A festival like no other. With carnival-esque pageantry, giant skull processions, acrobats, dancers and beautiful decorative art & costumes.

Festival of the Dead is a contemporary event infusing elements carnival, circus, theatre and unadulterated partying.

- Giant Skull processions around the venue

- Acrobats & circus performers

- DJ’s and live music

- Professional skull face painting

- Confetti, co2 and light show

This event is for persons 18 and over

Please note: this event is not part of the Dia de los Muertos public holiday, which has significant religious meaning and many traditions that will not be happening at our show.
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Ilfracombe Blues, Rhythm and Rock Festival 4

Ilfracombe Blues, Rhythm and Rock Festival 4

Nov 10, 2:00pm - Nov 12, 11:00pm

Ilfracombe Holiday Park
Marlborough Rd, Ilfracombe
Ilfracombe,  EX34 8PF Map

Following the great success of the festival in 2016, the line-up in 2017 will have to be even more special.....so keep an eye out for announcements in coming months!

www.ilfracombebluesfestival.co.uk/index.html

90 interested  ·  43 going
VegfestUK Brighton 2018

VegfestUK Brighton 2018

Mar 24, 11:00am - Mar 25, 5:00pm

Brighton Centre
Kings Rd
Brighton,  BN1 2GR Map

VegfestUK returns to the South Coast after 9 fabulous years at one of the nation’s biggest concentrations of vegan food and products in Brighton. In 2018, there will be a slight makeover of featured areas to go along with the usual vibrant mix of stalls and culinary delights, and we are so excited to introduce a whole new world of vegan delights to everybody looking for more vegan options at our first event of 2018 at Brighton.

NEW featured areas will include The Veganuary reunion party on the Sunday, with Veganuary participants, staff, ambassadors, friends of the campaign involved – the party will be open to attendees of Brighton Vegfest too.

Returning to the Saturday part of the show is The FxEctive Factor competition with a range of talented vegan musicians and activists pitting their wits against each other in the spirit of showcasing the unique talents we’ve got in the UK vegan community right now.

Also making their debuts at VegfestUK Brighton 2018 are a trio of newly themed talks rooms, namely The Vegan Academy, with a diverse range of topics on veganism for everyone at various stages of their journeys towards veganism, followed by a couple of talks rooms on the benefits of Plant-Based Diets, one focused on Optimum Performance and the other focused on Optimum Health.

The Vegan Comedy Festival, which was introduced back in 2015 when VegfestUK made its first return to the modern, sleek and spacious Brighton Centre, will once again be a 2-day festival featuring some of the most original vegan comedians in the country.

Other exciting areas not to be missed include the Cookery Demos, the Mature Zone, the Kids Area, the Stage, plus more TBA.

Of course, don’t miss the huge collection of around 230 stalls packed full of some of the best vegan products in the market, on top of 19 caterers serving a mouthwatering vegan menu at what is expected to be a very busy show.

Advance tickets will cost £7 per day and £10 for the whole weekend, plus booking fees, whilst tickets on the door will cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Kids under 16 get free entry as long as they are accompanied by adults. Advance tickets will be available to buy in January 2018.

Meanwhile, read this blog here for a full summary of VegfestUK Brighton 2017:

bit.ly/BRIG2017-Summary
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The London Intl Ska Festival 2018 / 30th anniversary

The London Intl Ska Festival 2018 / 30th anniversary

Mar 29, 7:00pm - Apr 1, 11:55pm

London
London,   Map

The London Intl Ska Festival returns to the capital for it's 30th Anniversary next Easter - Thursday 29th March- Sunday 1st April.

613 interested  ·  230 going
Crookfest 2018

Crookfest 2018

May 6, 11:55am - May 6, 11:00pm

CrookFEST
Crook Town AFC, West Rd
Crook,  DL15 9PW Map

CrookFest is a one day music festival held in the grounds of Crook Town AFC featuring tribute and cover bands performing inside the Main Marquee the Scooter Tent and on the Hut Bar Stage starting at 2pm till 11pm tickets are £15 there will be NO ALCOHOL allowed though turnstiles and NO CAMPING ..

143 interested  ·  129 going
Bearded Theorys Spring Gathering 2018

Bearded Theory's Spring Gathering 2018

May 24, 12:00pm - May 27, 11:00pm

Bearded Theory's Spring Gathering
Catton Hall & Park
Walton-on-Trent,  DE12 8LN Map

BEARDED THEORY - THE SPRING GATHERING 2018

Thursday 24th May - Sunday 27th May 2018
Catton Hall, DE123LN.

🎟 2018 Prices 🎟
2018 Tickets - goo.gl/Chs9pj
'Early-Bird' Standard Adult (16+): SOLD OUT
Standard Adult (16+): £115
Ages (12-15): £55
Ages (6-11): £28
Ages (0-5): FREE
Car: £12.50
Campervans: £37.50

ALL TICKETS INCLUDE THURSDAY ENTRY & ENTERTAINMENT.

Tickets are on sale via the SEE Tickets website or by calling the Box Office on: 0871 220 0260. All ticket funds are secured in SeeTickets escrow account until after the festival.

All children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult (21+). Please ensure you purchase the correct ticket for the age of your child as of May 25th 2017. Our gate entry will require photographic identification for any children that look older than their age. Ages 16+ might require identification to validate their age.

Bearded Theory is a multi-award winning creative and performing arts festival set in the beautiful grounds of Catton Hall in the heart of the National Forest. The festival borders 3 counties of West Midlands, South Derbyshire and Staffordshire and only 2 hours away for 50% of the UKs population.

We have been recognised in the National press as being one of the best festivals of the summer in various articles in the Guardian, Express, Sun, Independent, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1, Channel 4, BBC Entertainment and the Mirror. We have an award winning free Children’s Village along with an award winning bar selling real ales, lagers and ciders at pub tariffs. In addition we are one of the very few festivals that allow you to bring your own drink into our arenas.

LINE-UP - COMING SOON!
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We Are FSTVL 2018

We Are FSTVL 2018

May 25, 12:00pm - May 28, 12:00pm

Upminster, Greater London

Tickets on sale now via: www.wearefstvl.com

More news coming soon...

1226 interested  ·  440 going
Staffs Fest 2018!

Staffs Fest 2018!

May 25, 5:00pm - May 27, 10:00pm

Staffs Fest
Lower Drayton Farm
Stafford,  ST19 5RE Map

STAFFS FEST 2018!
After three successful years, Staffs Fest returns bringing you a fun-filled, family orientated, Live Music Festival weekend to remember!

You'll get to experience the very best of the UK's up-and-coming bands, some golden oldies, and Staffs Fest favourites, allowing you to sink your teeth into some incredible Rock, Blues, Reggae, Soul, Acoustic Magic, and undeniable talent!

Marquee One The Stage and Main Bar is under cover in a huge marquee so come rain or shine, your musical festival experience is the best it can be!

Marquee Two In the Acoustic Marquee Friday and Saturday you have the best of local acoustic musicians and on Sunday we are introducing a...

SOUL ALL DAYER with ten Soul & Motown DJs playing the best of sound on vinyl

Staffs Fest runs on the May Bank Holiday starting Friday 25th, through to Sunday 27th and is one of the best value for money festival in the Midlands!

ALL tickets included free camping! So, whenever you decide to turn up, bring your tents or your caravans, pitch up and stay the night!

Kids under 16 get FREE ENTRY!!!
There will be plenty to eat, plenty to drink, plenty to do, and you'll love every minute!

GET SHARING, GET SPREADING THE WORD!
Enquiries to admin@staffsfest.co.uk
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155 interested  ·  38 going
Heartland Festival 2018

Heartland Festival 2018

May 31, 4:00pm - Jun 2, 10:59pm

Heartland Festival
Egeskov Gade 18,
Kværndrup,  5772 Map

BILLETSALGET TIL HEARTLAND FESTIVAL 2018 ER STARTET

Heartland Festival vender tilbage til Egeskov Slot den 31. maj til 2. juni 2018 og præsenterer sine gæster for et festivalprogram fordelt på fire søjler: MUSIC, TALKS, ART og FOOD.

Første musiknavn er engelske The The, der gæster Danmark for første gang i 18 år.

I 2017 bød Heartland bl.a. på Eddie Vedder, Bryan Ferry, Cat Power, Bomba Estereo, Londaon Grammar, Miguel, Tony Oursler, Michael Stipe, Douglas Coupland og Olafur Eliasson.

Køb din billet her: www.heartlandfestival.dk
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Farmer Phils Festival 2018

Farmer Phils Festival 2018

Aug 10, 12:00pm - Aug 13, 1:00am

Farmer Phil's Festival
Near Gatten Farm, Rattlinghope
Shrewsbury,  SY5 0SN Map

Back for the 20th year 😍

Winner of Festival Kidz Best Tiny Festival Award🥇 😍 👏🏻

Farmer Phils Festival offers you...
*3 Day Music Festival
*Up to 7 nights camping
*Park by your tent
*Almost 100 live acts
*3 bars including local real ale and cocktails
*Great food catering for all tastes
*Childrens entertainment
*Wonderful people
*Beautiful setting
*Additional activities put on the week before to keep all ages entertained

Ticket information to follow...

Website >>> www.farmerphilsfestival.com
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679 interested  ·  358 going
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