The last Kings of Scotland
Virtually since day one with a blistering T in The Park performance at the end of the week their debut album was released, Kings of Leon have went down a storm in Scotland. Perhaps there is a kinship to the hard-drinking, hard-living boys or maybe just an appreciation of what they do but it is clear that Scotland loves the Kings. What came back at the Carling Academy was that the Kings of Leon seem to feel the same. Most bands hit out with the same lines about this town or country being great but with this being the last night of the tour, there was a genuine appreciation in Caleb Followill's stage chat. Referring to the quieter acclaim they get back in home in America, the gig was definitely a night of mutual appreciation and good feeling towards a band who now have three great albums under the belt.
Opener 'Black Thumbnail', from recent release 'Because Of The Times', has an almost yodelling feel and as openers go, its perhaps not the most dynamic but with the crowd roaring away throughout the song, its probably best to leave some of the more obvious hits to later.
And when they do they come, it seems as though they've just got hit after hit and they're certainly heading down the road where the record label will be looking to a best of collection. The first two albums get a fair airing with tracks like 'Spiral Staircase', 'California Waiting', 'Four Kicks' and 'The Bucket' all eliciting a deafening response. In trying to convey the sound of the band, its just chunky, stocky rock n roll. As a unit, they come across as tight and perfectly formed and when the lead guitar eventually lets rip, it can do so in the knowledge that the rest of the band have got the basics covered. With such security comes a freedom in their playing and musically, its hard to complain about what the Kings do. Critics may say its all a variation on forms of rock n roll but when its does so well, let the boys play.
Recent single 'On Call' is an instant classic, ranging from murky and minimal before building to a huge sing-along in the chorus which again, the crowd went mad to. With this and 'Molly's Chambers', the fantastic slice of guitar chug and stomp from the first record excelling on the night, there was a little bit for everyone to enjoy.
At least twice the band was prevented from playing the next number due to the crowd offering up lengthy ovations. Mainly in tribute to the tight and excellent set they were witnessing but probably in praise of the band ignoring the smoking ban in Scotland and lighting up regardless. No doubt some busybody (or aggrieved smoker) won't be happy to see the headline act sparking up when the audience are denied the opportunity but as a little rock n roll spectacle it was good to see. Its always good to be able to say that a band were smoking!
Closing with 'Slow Night, So Long', the crowd has one final chance to sing along, not just with the vocals but the opening guitar line gets sung and bounced along to and after that, the final goodbyes were said and the boys were off. It wont be long until they are back in town but for once, you get the feeling that the band will be counting down the hours as much as the fans.