Austin City Limits

ACL 2009 Day One: Kings Of Leon Rage Against The Fame

Funny thing happened last night. It was the same thing that happened to U2 in 1987 in the wake of The Joshua Tree, and the same thing that killed Kurt Cobain in 1994. Fame has finally overtaken Kings Of Leon, leaving their core boots 'n flannel crowd in the proverbial pop culture dust. The even funnier thing is that KOL seems to see and are raging against it.

It's not a bad thing when a band gets huge and finds themselves surrounded by new fans. Those are the things that increase recording budgets, send kids to French art schools, and help you wake-up next to Winona Ryder some velvet morning off Sunset. KOL is such a huge dynamic band that meant so much to a cherished few, that when the proverbial plates shifted in their fame game, it soured some on them. Especially after they turned from Molly Hatchet-looking heshers into Urban Outfitters-style pin-up boys. Imagine that, a band's looks factoring into their sound, at least in the eyes of fans. Cough Metallica Cough. Just kidding, Lars.

At Friday night's show, the newer fresh-scrubbed kids didn't respond well to much before 2006's Because Of The Times,and loved every minute of anything off of last fall's Only By The Night. The mass exodus after "Sex On Fire" was a testament to that. Anyone who stayed would have been rewarded with an appearance by Eddie Vedder on

"Slow Nights, So Long" from the band's Aha Shake Heartbreak. Yeah, that old grizzly dude in the Target commercials.

At one point lead King Caleb Followil hectored the crowd for not cottoning to their new ways, almost indicting their new fans in the crowd for not jumping on the Tennessee train sooner. It was oddly unsettling, but needed to happen. They seemed uncomfortable with all the party crashers singing along to just the choruses.

Rocks Off will be at KOL's nearly sold-out show at Toyota Center on Tuesday night to cover the show. Let's see what happens...

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty