Friday 7 December 2007

to be there...

Kings of Leon @ Nottingham Arena, 7th December 2007

I suppose that I've always thought of the Kings of Leon as a proper band: they're not terribly complicated and they play pretty straight-down-the-line, uncomplicated rock and roll. Their stage show largely reflects this: there are a couple of screens, a few giant mirror balls... and the band. What you see is what you get. You'd think that their audience would reflect this; that the crowd would be full of blokes here to appreciate an honest to goodness rock and roll show. And yet.... and yet..... right from the first moment we walk into the concourse around the arena, it's clear that this is a band that attracts the ladies. Not just any ladies either, certainly not the kind of ladies you might see at an Iron Maiden gig. No, these are ladies who have clearly made a bit of an effort: they've put their heels on and a bit of makeup. They are wearing outfits, for heaven's sake. Am I at the right gig? I turn to my companions -- C and Sarah -- to ask them what they think is going on, and I'm quickly pointed in the right direction. Apparently, the Kings of Leon are four good looking young chaps. As if that wasn't enough, they are a band that have something of a reputation for hard-living. They might be the sons (and a nephew) of a former Pentecostal preacher from the Deep South, but these boys are babe magnets. Me, I think I'd be put off by Caleb's talk about having a "Pistol of fire", but perhaps I'm the only one. Anyway, I think I prefer the drummer.

The gig... focus on the gig.....

I'm not a big fan of hanging around in arenas, so I reckon we timed our arrival just about perfectly: an announcement came onto the tannoy literally as we walked through the doors informing us that the band would be onstage in the five minutes time ... plenty of time to get down onto the arena floor and to find a bit of space not too far from the front and not too close to the back. Out of the range of those cretins who insist on tossing half-full beer glasses across the arena, anyway (did the girls think about getting a beer shower when they put their gladrags on, eh? I'm not sure that they did.)

The Kings of Leon are a really, really good band. They've now done three excellent albums, each one slightly different sounding, and each one a progression from the last. This means that they now have plenty of good material to work with. They might not be great showmen in the sense that they don't make a spectacle of themselves for the benefit of the crowd, but they certainly know how to play. As usual, Caleb spends every moment between songs fiddling with the tuning of his guitar, searching for the perfect pitch, but it all sounds good to me. The focus of the set is naturally on their most recent album, "Because of the Times"... but it's a good album, and the skuzzier sound works really well live: "My Party" in particular sounds absolutely fabulous... but "Fans", "On Call", "Knocked Up", "Camaro" and the rest all sound good. The new material is well mixed with older stuff from "Youth & Young Manhood" and "Aha Shake Heartbreak". Obvious highlights included "Holy Roller Novocaine", "Molly's Chambers", "King of the Rodeo", "Milk", "Four Kicks" and a rapturously received version of "The Bucket". It's a good set.... perhaps a bit short at about 75 minutes, but it's certainly good.

One thought though, why do people spend the best part of £30 on a ticket for a gig and then spend the whole night chatting through the songs? We had a pair of girls standing behind us who did nothing but talk all the way through.... increasing their volume when the band rather inconsiderately played a loud one. Some of the time they were almost shouting at each other. I know it's very British of me to have not said anything to them, but I find it amazing that they couldn't think of somewhere better to have a chat that a dark, noisy and crowded arena during a gig by a rock band... still, takes all sorts I suppose.

And don't get me started on those people who insist on taking flash photographs of themselves all night. Or the ones who wave their phones and cameras in the air on record. Or the beer chuckers. Or the pissed up dancers standing on your feet. Or the fat, sweaty blokes taking their tops off. Or the bloke who keeps dropping stinky farts.....

It was a really good gig through.


Verdict - 8 / 10.... and Ladies, I think he was wearing those skin tight trousers especially for you.....


  1. OH MY GOD. i'm so so so so so so jealous that you saw them last night. despite their #3 spot on my list they are my favourite band of all time. i don't think BOTT is the best at all, i actually think they've gotten progressively worse, but i do love all of them tons and tons!

  2. I didn't say they were better with each album, just that they'd progressed. The first is my favourite too.

  3. I think they've progressed... and yes, v.v. good live band, saw them a couple of years ago (when they all had lots of hair).

    If you liked them live, Eagles of Death Metal are a MUST see, don't let the albums put you off..

  4. Sounds to me like you've become something of an 'annoying gig goer stand by me' person of late.
    Goog gig though by the sounds of it.
    I'm obviously in the minority here by saying that I think their latest offering is their best.