Kings of Leon brought their brand of southern soaked rock to the delight of a full house at the Riviera this past Saturday night.
Download: Kings of Leon - "On Call"
Kings of Leon began their career, like many bands of the period, within the shadow of The Strokes. While some comparisons were made to the tune of the Kings being "the southern rock answer to the Strokes," (many opening slots for The Strokes certainly heped fueled this assumption), it is possible that same southern rock approach helped them differentiate themselves while many other bands from the era seemed to fade away. They certainly have some credentials to back their southern rock label. Following the southern-fried traditions of Lynyrd Skynard and the Allman Brothers, the band is a family affair, consisting of three brothers and a cousin.
Their latest release Because of the Times, has come along way since the rawness of their first release, Youth and Young Manhood, in both its polished sound and concept. The sound even seems to cut itself a bit from that southern rock root so prevalent on their first two releases. That being said, their live show still treats the material from the first two albums with a bit more benevolence. This may be that the slickness of their latest release is not as easily duplicated live, or that the live show has not quite caught up to the direction of the latest studio material. Either way, I see this as a good thing. This music performed live deserves to be left as untreated as possible. Something that gets increasingly difficult as the venues grow in size.
Their was no shortage of confidence in the performance, as they do deliver with a swagger. They rolled through material from all three albums. From the commercial friendly "Molly's Chambers" off of their first LP to "Slow Night, So Long" & "the Bucket" off of their second. As I said before, tracks from the most recent release seemed to lose a little of their sheen when delivered live, particularly on their latest single "On Call." It was also noticeable on "Knocked Up," in which the sly, subtle lead guitar lick that seems to thread the whole song together ended up being lost amidst the live cacophony. It was no matter though, once I saw them drill their way through "Four Kicks," I realized finding any fault was simply being hypercritical.