Kings of Leon | 5.24.07

live_kolIt's cool to see such a talented young band who could just as easily have churned out another Aha Shake Heartbreak challenging themselves musically, trying something new, and succeeding.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

After the remaining hum of Kings of Leon's introductory buzz died down, the band was no longer merely a critical darling of the United Kingdom. Back in their home country, the word of KOL has been catching up, and along with a bigger sound has come greater popularity. An infection spread like the loving glass shards born across Caleb Followhill's vocal chords has meant larger venues, a more concerted musicianship, and shows like that of Friday night's at The Pageant in St. Louis, where as much energy was being thrown back the quartet's way as that which they so naturally produce. The inherently animalistic and sinfully young Tennesseans blend cousin Matthew's guttural chords with brothers Nathan and Jared's swaggering rhythms, lending a rugged soul to the gritty heart of Caleb's own unparalleled instrument.

Backed by a banner depicting an exploding incandescent light bulb, the band took to the stage with one of their Southernmost gems, the howling "Black Thumbnail" off of KOL's most recent release, Because of the Times. Instant energy established, the hip shaking bass of "Taper Jean Girl" took a cocky turn from Caleb's rooster crow, with the leather-shirted frontman singing those fan favorite words of "A-ha, Sha-ake," and most everybody did as he told. A pretty fair mix of tracks from each of KOL's three studio albums followed, with a little tilt toward the new, of course. New tracks "True Love Way," "Fans," and "Arizona" were executed to near perfection, with each member enjoying some time in the spotlight. Most impressive was Nathan's commanding drum work on "My Party," a jungle-groove number with a badass, offbeat bridge and a taste of fuzz-bass. It's cool to see such a talented young band who could just as easily have churned out another Aha Shake Heartbreak challenging themselves musically, trying something new, and succeeding.

Some big moments of the remainder of the main set included the always raucous "Four Kicks," "Spiral Staircase" off of the band's underappreciated debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, and the blissfully epic strains of another Youth track in set closer, "Trani." The band saved their greatest buildup for last, however, as they returned for their encore to the ramblin' tones of "Knocked Up," a quiet/loud track whose appreciation was well noted by the audience singing Caleb's backing "who's," as the singer could only sit back and soak in the compliment. After screeching and wailing on "Charmer" and the unfortunately titled "McFearless," the night closed with the predictable, but always satisfying "Slow Night, So Long." Kings of Leon shows are always going to be packed with energy, but their new tracks really add an air of confidence and mystique to the growing rockers, a band whose best work may very well be yet to come, if they allow it to be. | Dave Jasmon

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