Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Come Kings of Leon

I've stated time and time again my adoration for the family Followill, better known as mod-rock band Kings of Leon. Their breakthrough album, Only By The Night has not left my iPod hit list since I first got my hands on a copy. And after Saturday night's performance (the night before the VMA's -- what up, yeahhhhhh) in East Rutherford, NJ (yes -- and I made it back from the Joisey without scratches, too, aren't you proud?) at the lovely IZOD Center completely backed up my theory of just how amazing these fellas truly are.

As many of you who are frequent readers of Melismatic already know, I live in Manhattan. So it took me two subway trains, a NJ transit train and a bus to get to this place they call East Rutherford, but more commonly referred to as the Meadowlands, as this IZOD Center is right next to the old (and new) Giants Stadium. After walking around the entire center, getting some food, and getting a bit teed off by the fact that a Kings of Leon tanktop cost $40 (seriously?), we headed into our semi-nosebleed seats.

The arena wasn't too big, so anywhere you sat, so long as you didn't have tall people in front of you, you could see quite well. It's been awhile since I've been to a proper arena show -- the last time I believe was for the 'American Idols' 6 tour with Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis and Chris Richardson. I did leave feeling that this venue should remain on my place to watch felt more intimate than Madison Square Garden (despite MSG's closer proximity to me).

Glasvegas opened, and were fine, I suppose. They aren't quite my style, but their Scottish accents were certainly amusing. At one point, the lead singer stated, "I'm glad New Jersey is having a good time. Can you even understand what the f-ck I'm saying?" :) Grin. You get a cookie for that one, sir.

After a few brief set changes, the Kings of Leon came on, and opened up their set with my ultimate favorite song -- "Closer". Why it was never released as a proper single completely eludes me as it is clearly very much a fan favorite. After "Closer", they continued right in to "Crawl".

I know a lot of the hardcore Kings of Leon fans probably hate me (and the majority of the people at the IZOD Center that night) because it became very clear that most people in attendance were only familiar with the material from Only By The Night. Thankfully to me, I would say about 2/3 of the material performed was from that album, but the songs performed from earlier works were all very upbeat and good as well, making me want to finally capitalize on my constant reminder to myself to listen to the rest of their catalogue. In particular, the song "Charmer", the last single off the album prior to Only By The Night called Because of the Times (and the single before their breakthrough "Sex On Fire"), really caught my attention for Caleb Followill's fairly consistent screaming of "OW!" throughout the verses.

They played "Manhattan" just as I hoped they would, and we danced and swayed and sung along to every word, only realizing about halfway through that we were in New Jersey and several pepole did not look amused at our blatant Manhattan-ite behavior. Sorry, Charlie. :)

When "Sex On Fire" was cued up, Caleb encouraged everyone to sing along. I have to admit I got a bit of the goosebumps when the chorus came round and the crowd screaming "YEAA-AHHH, your SEX is on FIII-RRRRRRRRRR" practically drowned out Caleb's vocals with a microphone. Surprisingly, they did not close with "Use Somebody" (which suited me fine, as I prefer "Sex" and "Closer" anyhow). I truly did not realize just how Coldplay sounding that song really is, and maybe that is why so many of KoL's hardcore fanbase is less than enthused about their most recent album effort. But overall, it was a very satisfying show, which would have only been better if I actually got to meet them...perhaps someday. :)

The show was a reminder of just how good the Only By the Night album is, and how much of a red herring the boys in Kings of Leon are. Caleb Followill's voice live sounds just like it does on the record, but stronger, more intense and more emotional -- something so rare of musicians today, period, but especially in the rock/pop genre. The raw intensity that reverberates from those warbles are like a sucker-punch to the gut. I say "red herring" mostly because my music collection is mostly a smattering of pop, urban, old school and r&B cuts, so the mere fact that I spend so much time listening to a modern rock band is something very new and very distinct for me. I would highly suggest Only By the Night to just about anyone, but especially to those of you who have a penchant for interesting vocals and drivingly catchy guitars.


Samantha Lynne said...

I was at the Merriweather Pavilion show last tuesday and it was as amazing as you said! they sound like the played about that same set list and they came back for an encore which they played use somebody and 2 others. I LOOOVE their stuff. Old and New, like you said, his voice is very similar to the records but with much more emotion. i saw them this past april in philly and this time around they had much more enthusiasm, taking shots on stage, matthew holding his cig in his mouth or bw guitar strings, jared rockin out towards the speakers, heads bobbing, guitars was followed up very well!!! :)

Ken said...

ahh. KOL. I'm utterly frustrated about seeing them in concert LIVE. plus GLASVEGAS. what a concert.

I'm extremely jealous. :D

Mel said...

Sam - Yes, they are so animated! I had no idea Matt played the opening riff to "Closer" with his teeth. So crazy! Such a good show!

Ken - Well, you got to see The Satz in the flesh, so I suppose we're sort of even. :)

John said...

Great review! I would go to a KoL show in a heartbeat! For now, I will settle for Mr Mraz at Red Rocks on Saturday.

Mel said...

John - The concert's this weekend then? Is K'NAAN still opening? I think you'll enjoy him.

John said...

It is. I'll try to get pictures.

TaylorSwift said...

One of my long standing dreams was to attend Kings of leon concert live. . I know all the words of their songs by heart …well they are performing this year. Next weekend I’m going to visit my sister and we will attend their concert; I've compared tickets prices tix before from Ticketwood for free So I'll be analyzing as well as enjoying the concert.

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