Kings of Leon, Hyde Park 30/6/10


After taking a break from their whirlwind success to make their fifth record, Kings of Leon return to England to play their biggest headline show to date. London’s Hyde Park is full to capacity as 65,000 fans turn up eager to witness one of the worlds’ most talked about bands in action. After charismatic support sets from the likes of The Features, The Whigs, The Drums and The Black Keys, the band take to the stage amongst theatrical music and red smoke; opening with the powerful distorted bass lines of ‘Crawl’.

Throughout the night, the band surprise us with four brand spanking new songs that will presumably feature on the new album, due for release later in the year. The overall impression given from these is that the band has attempted to return to their roots and recover the country sound from their debut record ‘Youth And Young Manhood’. Whilst working title ‘Immortals’, conveys the stadium rock evident within ‘Only By The Night’, sounding just as epic (if not more) as ‘Use Somebody’. On the night, their set list takes an obvious blow as many of their loved classics such as ‘Slow Night, So Long’, ‘Red Morning Light’ and ‘California Waiting’ are substituted for the new material. But alas this is what happens when you have almost 5 records to choose from and they do manage to fit 24 songs in just under 2 hours which is an achievement in itself.

‘Trani’ (a track from their debut that Bob Dylan hailed as “one hell of a song”) predictably stands out in all its raw brilliance. The build up from the hazy verse to the swinging chorus shows the band in their live element and emits a sense of nostalgia within the atmosphere as we are granted a glint of the young Kings of Leon sound that used to be. A cover of The Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ is unexpectedly thrown into the mix, pleasing fans and rivalling the original. Talking of ‘Fans’, the song itself is also a highlight as the boisterous crowd sing the lyrics ‘All of London sing, ‘cause England’s swinging and they sure love the tales I bring’, with pride.

This pride accelerates as the crowd show nothing but love and loyalty throughout the show, particularly during their most popular hit ‘Sex on Fire’ which sees every person in attendance drunkenly bellow the chorus at the top of their lungs. Vocalist Caleb Followill shows gratitude back as he beams “It’s good to be home”, making reference to the great reception England have always given the band in comparison with their homeland America. The emotional front man seems humbled but somewhat bewildered by the crowd turn out as he continuously thanks us and states “I can’t believe all of you have come to see make us feel more special than we ever thought we could feel”.

It is common knowledge that the band are no strangers to huge shows, having dominated the headline spot at most of Europe’s largest festivals; most notably Glastonbury back in 2008. This fact is apparent as they perform the gig effortlessly, almost as if they are unaware of its grand scale. They may not have pulled out all the stops but according to drummer Nathan Followill, the show was still the “highlight” of their career. With the new songs sounding bigger than ever, it looks likes this career is set to last a very long time.

Check out my review and another account on Clink Magazine:

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