Kings of Leon
House of Blues
New Orleans, Louisiana
May 11, 2007
The other night I was played the fool, and I’m still not over it. What I once thought was inspired rock and roll suddenly became clichéd and hackneyed in a single instant. Yep, this past Friday, Kings of Leon lost a fan at New Orleans’ House of Blues, and the scars are still too fresh for me to think about forgiving them anytime soon.
Am I being over dramatic?
But the truth is, my faith in Kings of Leon as a genuine rock and roll band was shattered by the very same action that led me to believe in their “authenticity” in the first place.
Last Halloween I was working at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans, and was very excited to be a stagehand for the Kings of Leon show. I had never heard the band, but had read good things.
My first impressions were positive. I chuckled when the Followill brothers and their cousin came out wearing tighter jeans than most girls in their audience; but with such focus in their eyes, I could not disavow their determination to rock harder than anyone else that took the stage.
Caleb sang with just the right amount of grit and frustration; Jared kept interesting rhythm on bass; Matthew balanced lead riffs and guitar solos precisely; and Nathan’s enormous pink drum kit symbolically challenged everything. The songs had street credibility and I believed that these guys practiced the over-indulgent lifestyle reflected in their catalog.
At the end of the night, they even upped the ante.
In a climatic buildup during “Trani,” Caleb slammed the microphone in passionate rage.
Feedback shook the stage.
The Kings left the stage without speaking a word or looking back at anyone.
I stood up and hollered ‘till I could breathe no more . The Kings had just stamped their kick-ass performance with a shotgun blast to the face.
Eight months later I was ready for another dose. And even though I hadn’t heard a note of their new album, I was confident they would deliver the goods.
In the end, I was the only person in the entire venue to walk out pissed.
In all honesty, I could have had several reasons to be disappointed with Kings of Leon. First of all, their set was only an hour, with a fifteen minute encore. Second, I couldn’t distinguish new material from old. Finally, the audience was a very talkative, inattentive crowd (for that, the band cannot be held accountable.)
But none of that really mattered to me after the set closing “Trani.”
Once I heard the screeching build-up and the fiery vocal delivery, I could see what was about to happen. The microphone was clutched. The stand toppled with it.
In one fell swoop, Kings of Leon plummeted from greatness to gimmick.
You may think I’m taking this action entirely too personally, and for that, you might be correct. But damn if I don’t feel cheated somehow. In less than a year Kings of Leon managed to completely secure my support and then utterly destroy it with the exact same gesture.
The bottom line is that my trust has been betrayed, and like all relationships, it’s going to take time before I’m ready to forgive.