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Kings Of Leon - Concert Review

Updated on August 16, 2009

Review of KOL Calgary - Aug 13,09

Don't ever underestimate the Kings. At the risk of sounding like every person who has ever seen them live, I have been a fan from day one; I saw a preview for their first album Youth and Young Manhood in Rolling Stone magazine in 2003 and haven't turned them off since.

While the albums speak for themselves, I have no reservations about calling KOL the best live act I have yet to hear. I can say this effortlessly. I have attended venues for many rock and roll demigods including the likes of the Rollings Stones, AC/DC, Guess Who, Bob Dylan, RHCP, and many many more. Their first trip to Calgary was welcomed with a sold-out Dome crowd of 15,000.

The Kings have had the beautiful opportunity to attract mainstream audiences to their music via a selection of radio-friendly jingles including Sex on Fire, Use Somebody, and Notion. However, many fans don't realize that the pinnacle of KOL's greatness is found in perfectly gritty earlier albums. This allows for new listeners to revel in the discovery of countless great songs, and old listeners to feel an incredibly nostalgic connection to the live show. At the Calgary concert, lead singer Caleb even excused anybody who changed radio stations every time Sex on Fire was played, saying he'd do the exact same thing.

As soon as the lights went down, the entire setlist felt like it was engineered entirely for me. I willfully surrendered my last opportunity to get alcohol, because I simply could not do them the disservice of getting up. During an almost two hour performance, KOL played cult-classics like Taper Jean Girl, Four Kicks, Molly's Chambers, Red Morning LIght, Milk, and Charmer.

The Kings stand alone for a number of reasons, and a number of huge, video screens gave listeners an intimate glance at the band up-close. Another important distinction was that Caleb was not afraid to address the crowd personally. Many bands can barely remember the name of the city they're playing for, and KOL made every effort to give the fans a sincere and true connection. Part of this came from the heart and soul that IS KOL, and part came from perhaps their surprise at the jumping, dancing, screaming aduience. This is a concert in which you expect to stand at all times, and not just during the encore. (in which they played FOUR songs btw)

Standing for two hours without a drink in my hand is not usually my idea of a good time, but I can honestly say that the set was perfect. They were worth every penny, and at no point did I look at my watch and wonder when the encore was coming.

About the only bad thing I can say about the concert was that there were no experimental interludes or extended jamming - most of the songs were clean off the albums. Also, it appeared KOL's sound crew was experiencing small difficulties that were eventually sorted out around the halfway point.

Buy the albums, see the live shows - this band is going to be around for a long time, and listening to the evolution of their music is truly a beautiful experience. Do not underestimate the Kings, they will rock you, use you, and kick you to the curb and you will crawl back for more. They're lusty, drenched in sin, with explosive energy. This is one of the bands that has saved the 2000s from being labelled as one of Pearl Jam rip-off rock bands. In a time when SO MUCH crap music is being touted as SO GREAT, it is truly comforting to know that my generation hasn't lost all its musical credibility. Raunchy southern-rock is alive and well; no matter how awkward they seem to fit within the moulding of mainstream top-40 rock.

Marty Thurston

Some bands I've seen in no particular order:

The Guess Who, Rush, AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Kings Of Leon, The Whigs, Trooper, Three days grace, Seether, Econoline crush, RHCP, Motley Crue, The Trews, Dallas Green, Sam Roberts, La Chicane, The Tea Party, Queens of the Stoneage, Blue Rodeo, Sass Jordan, The Flaming Lips, The Have Love Will Travel Review (Dan Aykroyd/Jim Belushi), The Isley Brothers, Justin Timberlake


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    • profile image

      KOLlover 7 years ago

      Mr Seesareu and Mr RKO, you obviously hae no taste in music, if you think that Kings Of Leon are a 'bland version of a indie band' and 'dull and boring'. I for one find Kings Of Leon the most amazing band, whose music is mesmerising and lyrics are full of feelings and emotion. Mr RKO, if you think that they are 'a one hit wonder' then you are completely wrong, how can they be a one hit wonder if they have four multi million selling albums.

      I Love Kings Of Leon, they are my all time favourite band, and I am so happy that I am going to see them live in Hyde Park, in two days time.

    • stuart747 profile image

      stuart747 8 years ago from Colchester, Essex, UK

      I think that they are a great band and have only seen them once at a festival and would love to see them perform again.

    • profile image

      Hildogg1 8 years ago

      I saw the Kings of Leon last night in Mass. and I had a great time! They don't put on an amazing stage performance, but it's all about the music. I think they are very talented, my favorite band.

    • profile image

      CHurt 8 years ago

      Perfectly put Mr mthurston, I couldn't agree with you more! KOL area fantastic band. I can see how someone who would even allow Leona Lewis to play on their radios would lack the taste in music that is required to to truly appreciate the KINGS! Mr RKO, and Mr Seesareu must be to busy offing themselves to The Big Show instead of taking to time to give The Kings of Leon the respect they deserve.

    • mthurston profile image

      mthurston 8 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      WWE???? Dude, wtf. Your comments speak volumes on their own. I don't need to discredit them or bash you, because frankly, it doesn't surprise me that people who watch a lot of WWE, listen to Leona Lewis, and totally dig U2....probably aren't the highest pedigree of listeners. Thanks for the feeback anyway...

    • profile image

      Mr. RKO 8 years ago

      The following will be Mr. RKO's opinions about this certain band. If you're easily bugered, Mr. RKO can give less than two donkey shits about what you like. Now don't take it the wrong way. Mr. RKO is just stating his opinions. Mr. RKO perfers WWE to Kings of Leon. KOL never appealed to Mr. RKO at all. In Mr. RKO's opinion, Kings of Leon are the worst band out there today. Mr. mthurston, you have your own opinions about this certain band. Mr. RKO was offended when you metioned Mr. RKO's best friend Mr. Seesareu. It's his job to review stuff. Sometimes people are bothered by his honest opinions. Let's compare a Kings of Leon show to a WWE show. A WWE show is big and exciting. A Kings of Leon show is dull and boring and not any fun. WWE Superstars have personalities while the members of Kings of Leon have none. WWE superstars are worth lots of the benjamins while Kings of Leon are probably worth what 100 dollars. Mr. RKO loves to bash Kings of Leon because they're not anything special and from what Mr. RKO heard from friends who've seen this "rockers" live, they told Mr. RKO that Kings of Leon bored them. You sir are crazy for seeing them. See a WWE show instead and you'll get your money's worth and you'll be entertained and not bored, because if you go to a Kings of Leon show, you'll be bored to death. Mr. RKO sees this band of idiots being a one hit wonder and will be forever known for "Use Somebody". Later, Mr. RKO signing off.

    • mthurston profile image

      mthurston 8 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      This gentleman seems to have got it dead on. If you're into the whole Leona Lewis or U2 thing, then KOL might not be for you. Yes, you have every right to throw down your People magazine, listen to the Joshua Tree for the 1000th time, whilst burying your head under your Jonas Brothers blankets. Your comment is your opinion, and I mean no disrespect to you as a person. But if you knew the first thing about showmanship, you'd take down your Nickelback posters. I don't mind a diverging opinion - but referring to Leona Lewis and U2 in the context of a KOL review, has no objective purpose aside from highlighting some very obvious musical ignorance.

    • profile image

      Mr. Seesareu 8 years ago

      Kings of Leon. How you suck, let me count the ways. 1. You're the Leona Lewis of this year. 2008 was Leona Lewis' year and 2009 might as well be your year. 2. You guys aren't unique. You're a band that is nothing special and you're a bland version of any indie band. 3. No appeal, you have nothing that appeals to the casusal fan and you don't offer much. 4. Lack of showmanship, you guys are no U2. Later.