The Nashville foursome, Kings of Leon, have just finished a 5-date run of shows in the UK, promoting their latest album WALLS. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket for their first show of the tour in Leeds and I was definitely not disappointed.
I have loved Kings of Leon for as long as I can remember. I became aware of them through their second album Aha Shake Heartbreak and I was instantly hooked. Caleb’s screechy vocals paired with their signature raw guitar riffs were unlike anything I had heard before. From their iconic singles, such as The Bucket and Red Morning Light, to their lesser known songs, like Velvet Snow and Pony Up, I loved them all!
Just over a week ago, I was finally able to see them play live at the First Direct arena in Leeds on 19th February. I had high expectations of the gig after patiently waiting for so many years to see them. But, they went far and beyond what I ever predicted. With a stage decorated with red velvet curtains, they walked on to open the set with The End, something they have been renouned to do in recent years at their gigs. It was a somewhat slow, intense start to the show, but it’s a song that highlights the strength of Caleb’s voice. They then kicked it up a gear with Slow Night So Long, McFearless and Four Kicks, which showed me just why they are one of the best live bands around today. They got the crowd jumping and singing their hearts out.
One of my favourite moments during the gig was the moment they played The Bucket. It’s a song that begins with an instantly recognisable riff and had everyone cheering with the first note. It reminded me of why I first fell in love with them and probably did the same for many others in the room. The joy I felt during that song is something that I will never forget.
During the middle of the show, the band had an acoustic section, starting with The Runner. The band left Caleb alone on the stage with just a single spotlight and an acoustic guitar. His voice was raw, loud and completely amazing. It’s such a beautiful song and it was a really beautiful moment. The band then came back and played Comeback Story, a surprise to hear and one of my favourites from Mechanical Bull. This acoustic part then ended with WALLS, which had the crowd bellowing out ‘when the walls come down’ throughout. A few minutes towards the end, the usually slow song became fast and heavy, the lights started flashing and the curtains came down. The band was now in full view for the rest of the gig.
Reverend, one of 9 songs they played from their latest album WALLS, was another highlight. It’s a strong song on the album and sounds even better live. There were some intriguing graphics displayed on the screens during Reverand and for the latter half of the show, such as eyes and lips, which supported all their new songs. Waste A Moment was another new one from WALLS that sounded brilliant live. There was the sense that the band was really enjoyed playing all this new material.
After around 1 hour and 45 minutes, the band ended the set with Around The World. The confetti cannons were released and the crowd was loving the upbeat end to show. I was sad to see them leave the stage. It was nearly a 2 hour set, with over 20 songs played, and I still wanted more! I would have loved to have heard Taper Jean Girl or Red Morning Light, but hearing more of their new songs instead was still amazing. It was an incredible gig and one that I wish I could relive all over again.
The band play two more shows in the UK in Manchester on 9th June and Sheffield on 10th June.