Kings of Leon at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 4/10/2014
Photos by Jim Bricker
Kings of Leon, Local Natives Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion April 10, 2014
Welcome back, Kings of Leon. We had missed you since you skipped out on our last show. While you might've been touring pretty relentlessly since your return last year, it was nice to see you back at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, in seemingly good health, and with a re-established vigor.
We weren't sure if you had the ability to give us your all last night, but that was soon disproven in the first minutes of your performance. You showed us that, despite all your brotherly quarrels in the past, you really do like playing with each other the songs you've cleverly crafted in the past decade.
You have good songs, and you certainly know how to rock, but how long is that going to last? When are you going to fall into that same situation that caused a ruckus in Dallas a few years ago and made you cancel your Houston performance the next night? I mean, I guess you are (mostly) brothers, so those arguments are deep-seated in years of alcohol-fueled love and hate, but how long can it last?
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If Thursday night's performance was any standard to base that question on, they may be around for a while. Most definitely a small chunk of the show was phoned in, especially radio rockers "Use Somebody" and the show closer "Sex on Fire," but KoL definitely proved they enjoyed being on stage together throughout the course of the evening.
You could see their love for the game in both their newest and their oldest material. It only really seemed like they didn't like playing stuff from their two albums that brought them into the mainstream. It's almost like how Tom Petty probably feels after playing "American Girl" night in and night out. Repetition is the catalyst for boredom.
But don't get me wrong, it was far from a bad show. It was top notch, and after 27 songs you could tell people could and would stay for another 27 more. And KoL could easily play another 27 more, but only if they returned to more of their older stuff from their first two records. Yes, I know it's a common gripe that that band had only two or three records before they sold out, and that they should stick to those because they're better, but looking around during the show crowd participation was much higher on the newer songs than the few older ones they played.
And that's good in terms of the band's shelf life. Kings of Leon definitely deserve to be in the spotlight, albeit a few years removed. They definitely still can own such a large stage, and had no problems commanding a crowd of about 12,000. Their fan base is also very young, younger than most rock bands out there, which should help them carry their name for many years to come. If you want to make it big in this industry, make sure to cater to the youngsters. Their parents' money should help to keep you afloat.
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Who knows if they're sober and all still have love for each other, but for the evening the Followills seemed to get along. Especially during the louder material like Youth and Young Manhood's "Molly's Chambers," Aha Shake Heartbreak's "Four Kicks" and "The Bucket," Because of the Times' "Charmer" and "My Party," Only By The Night's "Crawl," Come Around Sundown's "Radioactive" and "Pyro," and their latest burner from Mechanical Bull, "Supersoaker."
Laced in between the rockers was a plethora of filler songs that were a bit on the boring side for the casual fan, but seem to go over well for the sporadic diehards in the audience. But I guess that really goes for any big show these days. Overall, it was a pretty top-notch performance, though, and it was great to see Kings back on the road after what seemed like the possible end to their career.
So, Tell Me About the Opener: I'm not sure how many times I can cover Local Natives here, but I'm guessing that answer is close to infinity. I've photographed or written about the band every single time theyve made it to Houston, all the way back to that sweaty show at Mango's back in 2010.
They are one of the best bands making music, and despite an early slot playing to a near-empty pavilion with people shuffling in throughout their set, they still gave it their all. They really seemed to sink in to the audience during their tribal shoutalong "Sun Hands" at the close of their set, just in time for the dark to set into the evening.
Personal Bias: I've seen Kings of Leon too many times to count, first at Voodoo Fest in 2006 when they were still an opening act. I've seen them headlining major music festivals, and in some pretty small rooms as well. I was also told that I saw them at Toyota Center, but I don't remember that show for the life of me. Guess I had one too many that night.
The Crowd: 98 percent younger white professionals. 2 percent older white professionals.
Overheard In the Crowd: When Kings of Leon introduced themselves at the beginning of the show, saying "We're Kings of Leon," some guy with a cut-off shirt and a backwards white baseball hat in the second row audibly yelled "No Shit!" Rude, bro.
Random Notebook Dump: Good band, good songs, bad fans. Tons of douchebaggery throughout the venue all night.
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