Kings of Leon - Hyde Park - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Kings of Leon - Hyde Park

by Lawrence Poole Rating: Release Date:

Ever since Oasis' acrimonious split following Noel and Liam's bitter tête-à-tête in Paris last year, there's been a Gallagher-shaped hole waiting to be filled by a band with similarly lofty ambitions, a swag bag teeming with festival-sized hits and enough brotherly tension to keep a gaggle of psychiatrists enthralled for months.

At Hyde Park on Wednesday night Kings of Leon at last stepped up to take over the throne. And while both bands may have undeniable geographical and cultural differences, there's plenty to bind them together in the centre of a rock Venn diagram too. Both sell out stadiums in less time than it takes to boil and eat an egg, have a no-nonsense, stripped-back approach to live performances (Muse they are not), are famed for their off-stage booze-fuelled sibling brawls and acquired an ardent, 'follow-you-everywhere' fanbase from the get-go. And while others (Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay) may have claims to match their appeal, through fault or design, all lack that everyman touch, wide-screen ambition and sheer kick-as-will to take things are far as they can go.

At a 60 thousand-strong, shimmering Hyde Park, KoL showed just why their crown as the nation's most lucrative draw fits so snugly. Kicking off with traditional bourbon-soaked opener 'Crawl', the quartet ran the gamut of their four albums to date during their 25-song set, even finding time to squeeze in three new tracks and a lusty Pixies' cover ('Where Is My Mind?') to intrigued fans' delight and, one imagines, their record company bosses' chagrin. The aspirational and bluesy 'Be Somebody' and down 'n' dirty 'Molly's Chambers' proved early highlights, why the sheer heady thrills of 'The Bucket' and 'Sex on Fire' - the song, which finally rocketed them to mega-stardom on both sides of the pond - were ecstatically lapped up.

Of the new numbers, 'Southbound' struck the greatest chord - a real barn-storming melodious number brimming with fuzzy licks. Elsewhere 'On Call', with its Joshua Tree-inflected guitar slices fired out by cousin Matthew Followill sounded immense on such a still and clear night (the sound problems complained about elsewhere certainly didn't hit where I was stood), while 'Use Somebody' was bellowed back with impressive beery gusto for a Wednesday night.

Throughout frontman Caleb - in faded stars and stripes embossed denim - was visibly moved and humbled, repeatedly thanking the crowd for "putting the band where they are today", confirming that although they are from the deep south, they do feel like our band. The absence of stormers like 'California Waiting' and 'King of the Rodeo' did take the edge of things slightly, particularly when they're both such stellar encore material. Overall though, their Hyde Park extravaganza just whetted the appetite for album number five. The kings of Britpop may be dead, but long live the Kings of Leon.

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