Kings Of Leon, 29 October 2011


Fans revel in the presence of Rock Royalty.

Kings Of Leon made their overdue visit to South African shores this month, almost a whole year later from when tickets went on to sale.  This was because, in case you didn’t know,  drummer Nathan Followill tore his labrum and bicep, which required surgery and three months rehabilitation. Eina fok!

KOL Drummer Nathan Followill

As much as what we dig these oke’s, KOL are already notorious for cancelling shows  with ease.  Sadly leaving many a South African wondering if the Followill’s would follow through with their promise of a revised schedule.

M1nd The Gap attended the Johannesburg leg of their SA tour and we were consumed with what could transpire in Soweto.

We heard various stories about the Cape Town show.  Read a few ranting blogs and reviews – and this is what happened, according to some of our Followill’s *uhgm* …pardon… followers (see what we did there? – wink wink nudge nudge) :

  • Pick pocketing,
  • Poor organisation from BIG Concerts
  • Complaints about the audio quality
  • Flared tempers from douchebag concertgoers. (Who throws a drink, honestly?)

Luckily – the Jozi concert went off without a hitch (big up, guys).

Lets be honest, one of the least appealing aspects to headlining acts is… wait for it…  the waiting!  Especially if you opt for a booze free jol to stay awake longer.  Yes there are actually people who do that.  During the pre-show, bands come on and play songs you don’t know (and aren’t good), which is then replaced by the merry go-round of equipment set-ups.

But not this night.  Bands played for a minimum of 30min, and the equipment turn around time was super smooth.  Next thing you know, Heuwels Fantasties were on stage and it was less than an hour til Kings Of Leon!

Shadowclub

A special mention goes out to Shadowclub, an SA band that is rocking out some very stylish riffs these days.  Excellent gig guys!

Back to KOL.  You could feel the excitement in the air as the lights went out and the people squirmed into positions to get a better view.  The stage was drowned in red light and pillowed with smoke. The brothers (and cousin) Followill let loose with “Radioactive”, “Taper Jean Girl” and “Four Kicks” for their intro.

The set-list was a great mixture of old and new material as they went through their catalogue of songs: Even the most die-hard and hipster-est of fans couldn’t complain.

As an international band, it was a no-brainer that the sound would be amazing.  But what was most appealing was Caleb’s voice is that he sang with so much passion.

The emotion etched on his face as he backed away to howl into the mic, song after song.  Simply amazing to see a live act replicate the sound of a studio.  Vocally & technically – we give them 10 out of 10.

The only bone we had to pick was with the stage performance:  They focus on delivering the songs, which means little crowd interaction.   Caleb spoke to the crowd about three or four times only to repeat himself saying  “You guys having a good time?” – four times.

But we aren’t here to bash the fact that they didn’t pay us any attention.  And we aren’t dealing with Dave Grohl who throws those crazy eyes from a mile away.  We are dealing with KOL, the mellow southern boys we all want to hang out with.  You can’t expect the same things from every band you see – and if you do – that’s your loss.

Our view

To make up for the lack of interaction though, they did give you a rad visual performance.  The traditional screens on either side of the stage were replaced by four panels that moved independently.  They would broadcast images with awesome effects to give an edgy feel to the concert.  It was like watching a Live DVD of the actual concert!

This was most notable on the song “Closer”, which was probably their performance of the night.  Guitarist Matthew sang into his axe’s pick-ups to create the eerie sound in the beginning of the song.

It wasn’t just screens that added to the performance, but the lighting too.  “No Money” brought about a tornado of yellow and green lights that went off with the busy strumming pattern of the song and created an awesome backdrop.

They had lights, they had camera’s and they relied on the crowd for ‘Action’.  Enter songs such as “Pyro”, built for arena rock with its sing-along chorus, as well as the already classic “Sex On Fire”.

Light screen display

KOL left the stage after “Sex On Fire” (which also included a flash mob choreographed by John Savage of 5fm) to a rapturous applause, which would have been a perfect way to end the show.  Some fans left in a desperate attempt to avoid traffic jams.

For the more faithful of us that chanted and fist pumped the air: A return to stage by KOL and an encore performance as the rain began to fall.  Oh, and massive choruses of “Ohhhh-OOOOHHHH-Ohhh” during “Use Somebody”.

M1nd The Gap went to this show with a few pals.  Some were very chilled, while others weren’t.  Those fitting in the latter category lost their shit the whole night, sang every word, rocked their head back and forth the whole time (even to “Knocked Up”).

When KOL closed the night with “Black Thumbnail”, which is their hardest rocking song, they just straight up embarrassed themselves.  But we’re not judging we’re just laughing (with you, of course).

eff you haters...

KOL then capped the night off with a fireworks display.  It wasn’t exactly Beijing 2008 or FIFA 2010 final, but it was a fitting end for an evening with one of the coolest monarchies in the world.

Over all we were impressively pleased with the show.  No haters here.

Over an out!

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