Their biggest ever headline show

Tennessee’s finest debut brand new songs at their biggest ever headline show.

In what could be described as the perfect way to spend a summer’s day, Kings Of Leon yesterday topped the bill of their biggest gig to date, after a day of great music from their famous friends.

Earlier in the day, The Whigs and The Features welcomed the world into Hyde Park, which basked in the central London sun. The Drums followed, the new band visibly relishing the massive opportunity and looking slightly overwhelmed too. The Black Keys paved the way for the headliners with a strong set that drew from their incredible new album, ‘Brothers’.

By the time Kings Of Leon took the stage, the Park was full to capacity - 60,000 revellers geared and tanked up for the Followill’s first UK gig in almost a year.

The stage camera focused on singer Caleb Followill’s back as he stood motionless facing his amp - the stars and stripes patch adorned there symbolising the band’s homeland and their pride of being so accepted on these foreign shores. Turning round, he reached the microphone for his cue in the storming ‘Crawl’.

The set was a faultless mix of new and old, and while it’s expected of the band to offer little between-song banter, last night’s exception was Caleb’s recurring praise and humility in thanking the crowd for giving them an unforgettable experience. “In thirty years time,” he defiantly beams, “when we’re fat and balding, we’ll talk about this night as the greatest of our lives.”

A highlight of the night began as Caleb told the crowd of the band’s visit the previous day to their record label, at which they played recordings of some new songs. The band insisted they wanted to play some of them at the show, but were advised not to. In typical KOL bravado, they did anyway, and not one but four songs were debuted, far ahead of their possible appearance on the band’s forthcoming fifth album.

The first new song, tentatively titled ‘Mary’, was a tough, blues rocker with a hard early ’60s beat, and signals a rootsy return to the band’s ‘Youth And Young Manhood’ rawness. Another, ‘Southbound’, is a steady rolling hoedown that celebrates the band’s Nashville base - “Come down and dance, if you get the chance... I’m going back down south now”.

Returning for their encore, drummer Nathan stood arms aloft on his podium, soaking in the throng’s admiration; a touching moment considering the band’s hard work rising through the ranks of rock and roll.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better night,” Caleb gushes in his last address to the crowd. “It’s beautiful.” The band send the crowd off into the darkness with a thundering ‘Black Thumbnail’.

Words by Simon Harper

The full set-list, including working titles for new songs (marked ‘*’), is:

'Taper Jean Girl'
'My Party'
'Be Somebody'
'Immortals' *
'Molly's Chambers'
'Mary' *
'4 Kicks'
'The Bucket'
'Radioactive' *
'Where Is My Mind'
'Sex On Fire'
'On Call'
'Southbound' *
'Knocked Up'
'Use Somebody'
'Black Thumbnail'

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