Gig 1: Kings of Leon / Hyde Park / 23.06.11

After deciding to review 22 gigs between June 14th 2011 and June 13th 2012, I’ve somewhat blown my load a little by seeing 3 in quick succession. Before July had even began!
Here’s the first:

I’m always a bit wary of outdoor ‘mainstage festival’ style gigs. It’s not just the fact it feels a bit impersonal – it’s actually the fact I don’t think many bands have the sound to fill such a vast area.

However – KoL are famous for their stadium sound so heading to Hyde Park on a sunny Thursday afternoon really seemed like a no-brainer.
Stopping for a couple of drinks enroute to the venue felt like a brilliant idea at the time, but it unfortunately meant we missed all but the last few songs of the support.. The Modfather himself – Paul Weller!
Loosened up and with an okay view of the stage, we watched the Kings open their set with Four Kicks.
The bass thumped, the guitar twanged and Caleb’s whisky dry voice screeched.
My heart dropped. It sounded like the CD.
It could have been the CD.
They were rehearsed to the point of being robotic.

Gone are the garage days for Kings of Leon.
I don’t quite know why I was expecting them to come out and play with the same crunch and edginess that you hear on the Holy Roller Novacaine EP but I certainly didn’t hear it.
It’s obviously time for me to say farewell to the Followill looseness – everyone else seems to have – but I have to say I miss the way they played on their earlier albums.
The band played a hits filled set – but it just didn’t feel right to me. It was like listening to a polished studio album. And in a bad way.
The whole point of seeing a band live is to feel the push and the pull and the frayed edges, the moment when you think they’re going to break filled by the sound of them saving it again. It’s what keeps people going to live gigs – its the excitement, the energy, the electricity.

KoL missed this at the Hyde park gig for me. They were clearly accomplished. But to the point it felt their early selves had been replaced by machines.
And it unfortunately only cemented my belief that by the time a band garners a stadium filler following, you may as well just stay at home, put your feet up on the sofa and click play on the CD player.
The beer is cheaper – plus you can skip Sex on Fire.

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