By Dan O’Neill
After being on a hiatus for nearly three years, Nashville rockers Kings of Leon finally returned to Philadelphia on Feb 19, with Gary Clark, Jr. as their opening act.
When Kings of Leon first popped onto the music scene with albums Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak, they were just a bunch of small-time, little known Southern rockers.
Slowly but surely, however, with Because of the Times and their biggest album to-date, Here Comes the Night, Kings of Leon seemed to finally be getting some notice, as well as notable air-play.
Two years later, they released their fifth album, entitled Come Around Sundown, and soon after they finished that tour, they took a hiatus.
Allegedly too many internal conflicts got in the way and the boys thought that it was time to call a break.
The hiatus didn’t last for long though, as three years later, they released their sixth and most recent album, Mechanical Bull, allowing them to embark
on their current U.S. tour.
It was clear from the start that the night was going to be full of energy. Gary Clark, Jr. came onto the stage and played a couple of songs from his debut-album, Blak and Blue. Most notably, his signature-track, “Bright Lights”, which is originally supposed to be a song clocked-in at 5:24, but somehow, found its way to be played for a little longer than ten minutes, due to his excessive guitar solos.
There was no complaints from the crowd, however, as just about each and every person in attendance clapped and cheered as loudly as they possibly could.
This was just the beginning, though, as 30 minutes later the main-attraction came out with the blisteringly raw “Charmer”, playing behind a huge white curtain. After the song and the curtain drop, it was a non-stop rush of rock and roll excitement and pure pleasure.
The crowd absolutely ate it up, too. Kings of Leon not only gave the audience the big radio-hits that practically everyone knows(“Supersoaker”, “Radioactive”), but also some of the more unknown tracks that only true, die-hard KOL fans would know of (“Pyro”, “Molly’s Chambers”).
Once the first hour went by, KOL decided to slow things down a whole notch with “Milk” and from there, to “the Bucket”, the crowd was thrown into a hypnotic-trance that didn’t show much room spontaneity, but then again, didn’t need to. It was actually nice to get a chance to cool our jets and just let everything soak in.
Right after that, KOL started blasting “Four Kicks” and the energy was back right up to where it was before everything got all mellowed-out.
The moment when the crowd really felt most alive was when ”Use Somebody” was played and the soaring, grandiose epic it is known as.
It’s clear why it is regarded as one of their most-known songs, as the crowd sang the words along to it with the band and felt like they were actually apart of something. Almost like a family, dare I say it.
The next song KOL played, “Trani”, also happened to be their last of the main-set as the guys got right up and left the stage after they finished.
The crowd clapped, cheered, and even chanted their names, waiting for the smallest-sight of one of the members walking back on stage to their instruments, getting ready for what would be the encore.
And right when they came out, not only did the crowd go insane, but the guys dug right into “Crawl”, with the attitude that they weren’t leaving just yet.
They played one more song (“Black Thumbnail”), until ending the concert with their biggest hit yet, “Sex on Fire”.
Right from the initial, memorable guitar-chords, you could tell the crowd was happy to finally get the song they’ve been waiting all of this time to hear, and the band knew it too.
Not only did they play it to perfection, but even also allowed the crowd to sing along to the main chorus.
Once the song ended, KOL said their “Thank yous”, their “goodnights”, and their “drive safes”, all before leaving the stage. This prompted the lights to go on and cause everybody to start a stampede toward each and every exit, in hopes that they can beat that deadly post-concert traffic.
Overall, all the members of KOL were clearly psyched and ready to put on a show for Philadelphia and the crowd was more than thankful for it. Here’s to hoping that they don’t wait another whole three years to come back and rock the City of Brotherly Love.
Kings of Leon will finish out the rest of their U.S. tour on April 11, in New Orleans. On May 31, they’ll pick up in the United Kingdom, beginning the next leg
of their overseas tour.