We suppose it would be fashionable, this being a blog after all and an alternative publication's one at that, to play music snob and put Kings of Leon in the crosshairs this morning.
But why, really? Somebody you know will be fighting traffic and crowds to hit the Hollywood Bowl tonight, somebody who claims to have a deep connection with “Sex on Fire,” or who figures the Followill boys are the biggest deal since U2, or who thinks Aha Shake Heartbreak is an overlooked classic. And no amount of blogger haterade is going to swamp the Kings' juggernaut at this point.
Besides, it turns out, those critical potshots hurt Caleb Followill's feelings. “A lot of people talked bad about my songwriting at the start, especially in America,” he told Q magazine in London earlier this month. “They made us out to be a joke band and I spent the rest of my career trying to prove them wrong. I get online and I read what people are saying and if people say something negative, man, it really hurts me”.
So instead, we just give you the facts: The Nashville quartet, touring the big amphitheaters even though its follow-up to 2008's Only By Night isn't quite ready yet, have sprinkled as many as four new songs into its sets: “Immortals,” “Mary,” “Radioactive” and “Southbound.” In front of 60,000 at Hyde Park in London in late June, the Kings covered the Pixies “Where Is My Mind?” People sing along to “Use Somebody.”
On this leg of the tour, indie-rock veterans Built to Spill are supporting, and, even though outdoor stages might be a little big for their music, there's a lot to recommend about the opening band the Features, whose 2009 album Some Kind of Salvation should have gotten more love.
And if none of this sounds appealing to you, well, just avoid Highland Avenue in the early evening hours.
Elsewhere: West of the 405, it's Boyz Skule and Precious Medals (along with Minibar) at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach. … This month's residencies in the Silver Lake/Echo Park environs are in full swing, with the ratcheted-up, '90s-leaning indie rock of Summer Darling leading the way at Spaceland, where Wait. Think. Fast. opens tonight. There's the upbeat Americana-pop of Mississippi Man at the Echo (with nice openers in Superhumanoids and Useless Keys); the kinetic indie-rock of the Outline at the Bootleg Theater (the Color Turning support); and the winsome indie-pop of Yellow Red Sparks at the Silverlake Lounge (Pacific Hurt and Windy City Gentleman open).
Also: Active Child and the Rescues at the RSVP-only It's a School Night at Bardot; Mister Nervous and Non Ultra Joy at the Viper Room; and the Mynabirds at the Hotel Cafe.