Kings Of Leon - Live In London

At least look like you’re having fun, guys…
Kings Of Leon live at iTunes Festival

Honestly, I have no issue with you if you think ‘Sex On Fire’ is Kings Of Leon’s best song, but what really riles me is your total lack of response or enthusiasm for the rest of their catalogue.

This proves the case with the majority of attendees at the Kings’ iTunes Festival show. So many waited until the second encore to rise from seats or show some actual appreciation.

I just can’t fathom those who have never graduated past the admittedly brilliant entry point of that number one single to explore and discover the depths and delights of their five albums – six, including the forthcoming ‘Mechanical Bull’ (Clash review).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a snob, I’m just a critic. And in this case, when the band is faultless and the show impeccable, with new numbers debuted for those who cared, the blame largely rests on those lifeless souls choosing to spend their entire Wednesday night waiting patiently for three minutes of sing-along pleasure.

The Kings understand the position they find themselves in. By playing the song last, they tease the expectant crowd. But it must be so disheartening to see so many disengaged when you’re trying so hard on stage.

There’s a faithful throng down the front, giddily bouncing, and some fists are occasionally raised in the balconies. But I can’t help but feel the irony that, although the Kings are at the smallest venue they’ve played in the UK for quite a while, any intimacy is almost impossible to perceive.

But for those like me, actually enjoying the entire night, there are great moments. Recent single ‘Supersoaker’ is a strong opener – though they previewed it at this summer’s o2 shows, now that people know the chorus it just sounds immense.

Matthew Followill channelling his inner Jimi Hendrix on ‘Closer’ is impressive – he hoists his guitar up to his mouth, picking at it with his teeth. But it’s the two songs from ‘Mechanical Bull’ that prove personal highlights.

The punky ‘Don’t Matter’ is brisk, aggressive and sharp, while ‘Family Tree’ proves my prediction true, as its popping bassline and infectious chorus hook a curious few.

But if you were one of the unresponsive bodies taking up space last night: please, hang your head in shame. Gigs are supposed to be about having fun, for the band and audience, and I truly suspect that wasn’t the case for you.

Words: Simon Harper

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