Kings of Leon
July 14, 2010
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
See the slideshow here
Hot off their sold out Hollywood Bowl debut, the Kings of Leon continued on their ascension to donning the rock and roll crown with an electrifying performance at the sold out Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The fireworks started early as two smoke bombs lighted the stage, yet the crowd truly became ignited during the opening notes of "Crawl."
The southern ramble of "Taper Jean Girl" had hips shaking and beers hoisted in the air as lead singer and guitarist Caleb Followill already had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Jared Followill's thumping Gibson Thunderbird bass line for "My Party" is the backbone of the song with Caleb switching over to another microphone for his distorted vocals.
Nathan Followill was busy chewing bubblegum and blowing bubbles while nailing the shuffling drums for "Be Somebody." Years of relentless touring have dramatically raised their playing abilities and solidified their combined chemistry as they have come a long way from the time I saw them open for the Strokes at the Shrine Auditorium in 2003.
"Molly's Chambers" was extra fiery and performed with a bravado like swagger. Jared was using a wah pedal for this bass during the intoxicating main riff for "Closer." After giving a shout out to their dad who came out from Oklahoma, "Four Kicks" had Matthew Followill add some extra zest with a pitch shifting guitar solo.
Like a runaway freight train, "The Bucket" packed lots of thump and bump into three minutes and reminded me of how many good songs Kings of Leon have produced over a relatively short period of time. Strategically following up new songs with surefire rockers, the transition from "Radioactive" to "Sex On Fire" was smooth.
All night the video screens projected the members in black and white reminiscent of U2's "Rattle and Hum". Caleb beckoned the crowd to sing along during "On Call" that had the crowd still chanting after its completion. Punctuating their main set with "Trani," Caleb violently knocked over his microphone stand but gently placed his guitar back in its stand.
For the encore, the ghostly harmonics of "Knocked Up" floated over the rambling backing guitars. Even though everyone has heard "Use Somebody" a billion times, it is a powerful anthem live with a full house singing along. "Black Thumbnail" served as the final coda for a most impressive evening with the Kings of Leon.
While one must give credit to Kings of Leon for exposing their audience to the slow burning triple guitar attack of Built to Spill, the crowd didn't seem to resonate with their songs. Lots of empty seats were visible for their set. Built To Spill go over much better in a theater but simply couldn't translate that well in a huge amphitheater with an inattentive audience.
Personal Bias: After seeing the Kings of Leon in 2003, I was sold.
The Crowd: The front row of the pit was lined with eyelash-batting female fans. Since the Kings of Leon have succeeded in crossing over to the mainstream, folks of all ages were in attendance with females slightly outnumbering the males.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Dude! There are so many hot chicks here!" One excited bro exclaimed to another.
Random Notebook Dump: It was interesting that the show was sponsored by Star 98.7 considering that Kings of Leon headlined the KROQ Weenie Roast last year.
"Taper Jean Girl"
"Sex On Fire"