Leeds Festival 2009

After failing to impress at the Reading leg for final night headliners Kings of Leon, the pressure is on. But then this should not be anything new, since last years Glastonbury the band finally seem to have graduated to heavyweight headliner status. Even so, there still remains issues with their setlist, particularly the perplexing opener of ‘Closer’. Thankfully, they made amends with the stomp of ‘Crawl’ even if the guitar solo floundered, much like a pedestrian ‘Be Somebody’ until a set of grumpy final refrains gave the track some gravitas.

According to reports from the Reading leg, most of the crowd was made up of new fans, those enticed by the underwhelming album Only By The Night yet the gems evident in their repertoire lie largely further in their back catalogue. An irate ‘My Party’ followed by a swaggering ‘Molly’s Chambers’ proving the trend though admittedly ‘Red Morning Light‘ seemed far too polite for its own good. The comparisons between performances at either leg were inevitable and even lead singer Caleb Followill wades in with a sly dig at elements of the Reading crowd for apparently attending for just the two recent singles. The shame, frankly those who scampered early should be ashamed yet tonight’s crowd seemed to have redeemed relations as Followill then dedicated a semi-acoustic rendition of ‘Fans’ before downing the first of many drinks onstage. The soothing midsection then climaxed with ‘Revelry’ leaving ‘Four Kicks’ to impress with its insistent, stopstart punk.

The mutual adoration continued with further pandering to the crowd from Followill before the growling bassline of ‘Charmer‘ and the lead singers deep throated screams. For those who did remain, rich rewards lay with ‘Sex On Fire‘, and if that was the cue to depart, few partook. For a guitar band only six years in their set already had the sense of a greatest hits set with ‘The Bucket‘ seeming a distant age away. By this point Followill seemed merry, tipsy even and as with the booze helped himself to another ever gracious, almost presidential address in soft Tennessee tones. The speech was positively received and worked dutifully to pre-empt ‘Call Me‘ and a snarling ‘Slow Night, So Long‘ before a lingering ‘Cold Desert‘. A slow, desolate extended rendition of ‘Knocked Up‘ set up yet even more pandering when Followill admitted to always thinking of England when penning the hits, but then you would expect him to say that would you not. Nice to know he’s thinking of us, especially for a stirring rendition of ‘Use Somebody‘ before ‘Black Thumbnail’ finally brings the love-in to and end.