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Rocking with the Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon at the Gorge WA July 19, 2010; photo, Linda Ball
When you head off to see a band play live for the first time since you got addicted to their music via the digital highway, you’re never really certain how it is going to go. Some bands can pull off their sound in a studio, but fall short of reproducing their unique tunes live. The Kings of Leon (KOL) though did not disappoint with two new songs, and additional solos the show at the Gorge in Washington in July was so clean.
 
KOL come from Tennessee, and it’s hard to peg their sound. A mix of southern rock, blues and country, the band is so upbeat it’s hard to sit through the show. KOL’s sound brings forth images of the 1970 - 72 Rolling Stones, Black Crows, or the Allman Brothers at different times and yet they have their own unique sound.
 
From the moment the first notes of “Crawl” echoed across the hillside the crowd was on their feet dancing and singing to the band. Lead singer, Caleb, seemed truly happy to be at the Gorge. While most leads for bands always say they’re happy to be playing at a venue, Caleb was genuinely having a great time on stage.
 
With Nathan laying down the rhythm without a miss, Jared driving the bass with style in black leather, Matthew playing guitar with his teeth on “Closer,” and the crowd singing the chorus to “Sex Is On Fire” so loud that they didn’t bother with vocals half the time one couldn’t have asked for a better night.
 
Of course it’s hard to beat a concert at the Gorge despite their overpriced American beer, when you watch the sunset over the river and see the moon rise above the stage; you just know it’s going to be a great show. Caleb took the time to tell the crowd to check out the moon before he got everybody into “My Party.”
 
Their new songs “Immortals” and “Southbound” were the only ones people were not singing to, but the rest of the night there were constant backup vocals from the audience. From the seats center stage in the pit the bass, drums, guitar and vocals were all crystal clear, only, of course, if you can actually understand Caleb when he’s singing and don’t have to rely on the lyrics off the net.
 
KOL is made up of the three brothers, Caleb (guitar and vocals), Jared (bass) and Nathan (drums) Followill, and their cousin Matthew Followill (lead guitar). Their evolution from country to rock took off after they signed with RCA Records. They put out their first EP Holy Roller Novacaine in 2003 followed by their album in the same year The Youth and Young Manhood. Their popularity took off and they toured with the Strokes and U2. When AHA Shake Heartbreak, their second album was put out in 2004 they toured with the likes of Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam between 2006 and 2008.
 
Two more albums, Because of the Times, and Only by the Night have continued their evolution into rock and stardom. KOL is a growing phenomena in North America selling out their concerts across the states.
 
Favourite song of the night? Definitely their cover of “Where is My Mind?” by the Pixies. Sorry guys. Love a lot of your music, but this one was unforgettable.
 
 
Setlist:
  1. Crawl 
  2. Taper Jean Girl 
  3. My Party 
  4. Be Somebody 
  5. Immortals (new)
  6. Molly's Chambers 
  7. Fans 
  8. Milk 
  9. Closer 
  10. Mary 
  11. Four Kicks 
  12. The Bucket 
  13. Radioactive 
  14. Where Is My Mind? (The Pixies cover) 
  15. Sex on Fire 
  16. Notion 
  17. On Call 
  18. Southbound (new)
  19. Trani 
 
Encore:
  1. Knocked Up 
  2. Use Somebody 
  3. Black Thumbnail 
 
Link:
 

Kings of Leon