Nathan Followill sits atop a raised platform Ringo-style, drumsticks in hand, head perfectly still, turning a piece of bubblegum over and over in his mouth. His hands reach out to the drumkit near him, his forehead barely breaking a sweat. Pop. Plunge. Crack. His brothers, Caleb and Jared stand in front of him, also still, Caleb's voice so full of guttural grit and scream that nearly it defies his delicate physiology; his cousin Matthew is on lead guitar to his right. They are the Kings of Leon.
Their set list reads like a rock and roll bible, or their memoirs from Tennessee sons-of-preachers to on-tour hell raisers: Taper Jean Girl, Milk, Trani, Knocked Up, King of the Rodeo, California Waiting, On Call, Crawl, Charmer, Fans. From playing at rodeos and singing in choirs to this – stage effects that make the crowd coo like a family watching a fireworks display, their name in lights above the stage, fans that crush and throw beer and scream and dance and sweat.
That there is something approaching grace in this stadium-rock band, who last night played a distinctly medium-sized venue, is not a surprise, bearing in mind the adulation they provoke in their audience. The band, some of whom are barely more than boys, strive to look like rock stars, skinny-jeaned and fin-haired, but at times they look like they might have walked onto the stage by accident, smack-bang into big-budget greatness and a life on the road. Their songs define a generation, despite the wide space between a rainy surburban upbringing in Britain and conservative, backwoods America. They sometimes look a little tired, like they are thrashing out a best-of list like they do every night (and this, of course, is the case), but for the most part they still play these songs hard and tight, with energy and heart.
'Thanks to Glasvegas for the support', croaks Caleb in his southern drawl, 'though we can't understand a damn word they say. But then they probably can't understand a damn word we say, either.' We'll second that, Caleb.
From Pearly*'s photostream under the Creative Commons License.