Gig Review: Kings of Leon – Leeds First Direct Arena (19th Feb)

Playing to a 13,000 capacity strong First Direct Arena, fans were treated to a dazzling, exhilarating 26 strong set list in which the new album was sprinkled in expertly. Giving die-hard fans the old classics like ‘Molly’s Chambers’ and ‘Slow Night, So Long’ whilst treating fans who have just joined the family a taste of hit singles ‘Around the World’ and ‘Find Me’. It is easy to see why KoL are universally liked among festival organisers due to their open approach and lack of exclusivity.

The four piece have also changed their production significantly. With drummer Nathan situated at the base of a triangle, two display screens sit metres away from him, creating a streamlined illusion to highlight the bands togetherness. Song displays have been given a reinvigorated colour scheme which accentuates the bands sharpness.

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The unusual sight and sound of heart beating was projected onto different screens signalled there much-anticipated arrival. As drummer Nathan Followill started the intro into ‘The End’, the red curtain rose up to an atmospheric, shadow of dense red fog. This signified a different Kings of Leon, the hall is already at their feet. An intimacy that continues to delve deepen into the course of the evening. The band from Nashville have been dubbed one of the few remaining rock acts left, and with this incredible opening, it is easy to see why.

The band flew straight into ‘Slow Night, So Long’, ‘The Bucket’ and ‘Four Kicks’ with bassist Jared Followill’s nimble technique allowing fans to enjoy a sustained period of adrenaline and fun. As expected, Caleb Followill, effortlessly let the music speak for itself, an emotive rendition of ‘Muchacho’ was a highlight of the night. Tinged with latin Inspired guitars and reminiscing of 2010 album ‘Come Around Sundown’, Caleb poignantly sang about the tragic death of a close baimg_5697nd associate.

Having just released their 7th studio album WALLS (We Are Like Love Songs), Kings of Leon’s secret weapon throughout their career is the seamless guitar layering, usually driven by lead guitarist Matthew Followill’s reverb guitar squalls. As fans sang, danced and cheered to old and new tunes like, frontman Caleb performed a faultless, chilling version of ‘Over’. A story about a rock ’n’ roll suicide which veered from crunchy rock vocals into a gothic, atmospheric anguish. Showcasing the singers undeniable vocal talent.

As expected, the band performed hit ‘Sex on Fire’ earlier in the set, giving those who love the song what they wanted, and those who dislike the throw away tune out of the way as early as possible. Accommodating to all kinds of different fans. Once again, the red curtain closed, allowing for an acoustic based segment to take place in which ‘Caleb’ delicately powered out ‘The Runner’. The band rejoined on the stage to continue the acoustic segment, for an emotional rendition of ‘Comeback Story’, showcasing the bands togetherness and suitability.

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The group blazed through ‘Find Me’, with Caleb utilising his powerful vocal drive and hymnic guitar figure, ‘Find Me’ mutates into the secret hit of the evening. The final song ‘Around the World’ drew resemblence from a communal celebration in a church, with cousin Nacho and production crew joining the band on stage with percussion instruments. What is quite incredible is how the band operates with few announcements on social media and event information, showcasing the bond  they share with fans and the notoriety they carry with them. Perhaps this is the reason why KoL they have brought a lot of different changes to their production. If anything, the video walls, white light bars and sliding curtains increased their stage presence and musical prowess.

Setlist:

  1. The End
  2. Slow Night, So Long
  3. McFearless
  4. Four Kicks
  5. Muchacho
  6. Molly’s Chambers
  7. Eyes on You
  8. The Bucket
  9. Over
  10. Sex on Fire
  11. The Runner (Acoustic)
  12. Comeback Story (Acoustic)
  13. WALLS (Acoustic)
  14. Find Me
  15. Radioactive
  16. On Call
  17. Reverend
  18. The Immortals
  19. Closer
  20. Crawl
  21. Pyro
  22. Conversation Piece
  23. Supersoaker
  24. Waste a Moment
  25. Use Somebody
  26. Around the World

Words by Matthew Thomas

@matthew5thomas

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