Review: Kings Of Leon supported by The Features
Venue: Brixton Academy
Gig Date: 13th December 2004
In 2003 when Kings of Leon released their debut album Youth, Young and
Manhood, they were covered in hair, the word most used to describe
their music was swamp and the media were having a field day with the
fact that they all had the same surname and were from way down south in
the USA. In 2004, swamp is a buzz word, only the one beard remains, and
Kings of Leon have proven to be a family of musical geniuses (3
brothers and a cousin), who managed to write some of the defining songs
of last year even though they range in age from 17 to 24.
A massive following in the UK meant that they spent this past summer
gracing the bill of almost every festival with their presence, touring
again at the end of October and now once more in December. It also
means that we get to get our hands on their new album Aha Shake
Heartbreak 4 months earlier than their US fans.
The Features, according to their publicity, were handpicked by Kings of
Leon as their support act, so I had high hopes for these lads who hail
from Nashville. I must admit though, when they began their set I
thought they were just another new UK band in the same vein as the
Zutons, or some other over-publicised,
fond-of-flares-and-fringes-in-their-eyes act. The Features are however,
far more melodic, original and their sound much bigger, and it was
obvious they were having a great time up there. This rubbed off on the
crowd who in return were supportive and attentive. The set included
some catchy, rocking tunes that will guarantee them airplay when their
debut album is released in March 2005.
Whilst I waited for Kings of Leon to take the stage I surveyed the
crowd which seemed to consist of a lot of yawning over 30’s, kids
accompanied by parents and not too many of the denim-clad, hairy-type
people I was expecting to see. The verdict? I didn’t have much faith in
this bunch to give the band the attention they warrant – boy was I
Kings of Leon took to the stage to the sounds of Tiny Tim tiptoeing
through the tulips, and then proceeded to blow the lid off Brixton
Academy accompanied by a frenzied crowd that sang every word to Happy
Alone. The sing-along continued through Red Morning Light and Wasted
Time, and when they played Taper Jean Girl from their new album, I
realised there were true fans in the house as they chanted the lyrics
like the song was years old.
As Kings of Leon mixed the set between their two albums there was much
floor-stomping, back slapping, and singing into your best mate’s face
going on, with the band and the crowd not letting up for the duration.
Notables were Molly’s Chamber, Joe’s Head, Milk, Four Kicks and their
new single Bucket. Listening to their material spliced together like
this reinforced how good their debut album was and, with the release of
their new one, they have proven they aren’t some flash in the pan.
Their music is maturing and developing, just as they must be.
Watching the band play was exhausting in itself. Drummer Nathan is the
incarnate of Animal from the Muppets, and his little brother Jared
plays his bass like he’s picking a fight, then as quick as the tempo
changes, fondles his strings in an almost obscene manner. Front man
Caleb (the other brother Daryl) was the only one to speak to the crowd,
simply introducing themselves, remarking they didn’t expect such an
awesome response and, at the end of their 3 track encore, proclaimed
the audience the best they have ever had in London. The cynic in me
thinks he must say that every night no matter where they are, but the
crowd definitely deserved full marks for participation and I can
honestly say Kings of Leon are one of the best live bands I have seen