Live review

Kings Of Leon
Astoria, London : 11.7.2003

Kings Of Leon - Click to enlargeSons of a preacher man, collective possessors of around 20 kilos of hair and driven by the God-given gift of rock, Kings Of Leon are three brothers (frontman Caleb, drummer Nathan, bass player Jared) and one cousin (lead guitarist Matthew) from the family Followill. Hailing from Tennessee, spent their youth travelling throughout the US with their evangelist father Leon - also their grandfather's name, hence Kings Of Leon - and playing church services (possibly an insight into the group's tendency to style themselves on Jesus). The group later moved to Nashville where they started developing their own material. At no point during this stage did any of them have a haircut. Probably . . .
    The band themselves are somewhat of a contradiction; both their sound and image is inescapably classic and derivative, yet there is something ridiculously original about what they're doing and the style with which they're doing it. So high was the demand to see tonight's appearance that there was a late change of venue to accommodate more fans. Having said that, the place is still packed to the rafters.

Straight from the off, the juggernaut that is Kings Of Leon ploughs forward at 100mph and isn't stopping for anyone. From the keep-on-truckin' energy of Happy Alone, Holy Roller Novocaine and Joe's Head, to the infectious California Waiting and debut single Molly's Chambers, each and every track is played with a gusto that you wouldn't necessarily expect to see from four men who look like they've just wandered in from the set of Almost Famous. The highlight comes half way through the set in the form of latest single Red Morning Light; a stupidly brilliant song that has to be the best thing made this side of Is This It.
    At the end, with bass player Jared looking like Mick Jagger on a live rail and the rest of the band still rocking hell for leather, the night closes with as much power as it started.

As we file out into the night, I'm left wondering just how long it will take before they become as stellar as they're surely destined to be. And, of course, how long it will take before my hair is that big. Kings Of Leon - not so much a band, more a way of life . . . and a darn fine one at that.

:: Philip Goodfellow

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