Kings of Leon
Visuals of Bettie Page and black and white porn films jiggled on the jumbotron Friday night as Caleb Followill belted out the chorus of Kings of Leon's latest single, "Supersoaker." Along with Followill's rough, soulful voice and the cascading stage lights, every component of the show came together to create a distinct, sensual atmosphere, like the scent of a musky cologne.
You probably know their story by now: A few years after the Followill brothers' Pentecostal minister father, Leon, divorced their mother, they formed the group in Nashville in the late '90s.
The secular music that was suddenly at their fingertips drove them, and with the help and guidance of Nashville songwriter Angelo Petraglia, the three brothers and their cousin rose to fame.
On Friday their 28-song set consisted of tunes from the new album, Mechanical Bull, sprinkled with essentials from their entire discography, sans their earliest album, Youth and Young Manhood.
Oddly, the audience seemed to respond best to the more obscure songs of the bunch. For instance, there were more people singing along to "Milk," a slow, whiney jam off 2004's Aha Shake Heartbreak, than "Wait for Me," which is currently the most popular song off of their newest album.
Everyone was into it when the Followill boys played the mesmerizing 2008 hit, "Closer." Especially the guy next to us who began to undulate his arms like an octopus to the song's bass. During the eerie ballad the guitarist, Nathan, glided his teeth along his guitar strings to achieve the song's signature, shrilling riffs.
The only person who didn't seem to be totally captivated by the show was Caleb Followill's wife, Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated model Lily Aldrige. She strolled by us on her way to the back of the venue, and seemed a little distant.
But there was a lot going on; the stage production was stunning, for one thing. Even if it is a bit phallic, The Forum's re-boot is great in many ways: the lights and jumbotron look brand-spankin' new and definitely state-of-the-art.
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They ended with a three song encore, but it wasn't as glorious as we'd hoped, closing with "Sex On Fire," their most overplayed tune, and they didn't really change it from the radio version we've all heard a million times.
Overall, however, a great show, and nice to see them deliver a glimmering performance without the help of excessive backing tracks or synthesizers. It was real deal rock and roll.