Kings of Leon
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
the Kings of Leon in 2003, I was sold.
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.
in the Crowd: “Dude! There are so many hot chicks here!” One excited
bro exclaimed to another.
Dump: It was interesting that the show was sponsored by Star 98.7
considering that Kings of Leon headlined the KROQ Weenie Roast last