Live Review: Kings of Leon at the Hollywood Bowl
[For more photos of the Kings of Leon show and audience, make sure to check out Timothy Norris' slideshow.]
Timothy Norris The Kings of Lion at the Hollywood "Fucking" Bowl
Last night, a gigantic family affair took place at the legendary Hollywood Bowl when three brothers and a cousin from Nashville invited 17,000 Angelenos over for a rock celebration. Southern siblings Caleb Followill on lead vocals, Jared Followill on bass, Nathan Followill on drums, plus cousin Matthew Followill on lead guitar, known collectively as Kings of Leon, shook the hills of tinseltown with a two-hour song parade well into the July night.
The Followill brothers grew up on the road, sons of a traveling preacher man. KOL mythology says they were all virgins until they became rock stars. True or not, one thing is certain: after two and a half years on the road supporting their multi-platinum 2008 LP Only By Night, Kings of Leon have definitely found their groove. Now they find themselves on the road again, under very different circumstances, playing their hearts out, singing of women, excess, sex, whisky, and ... the devil?
Nashville heroes The Features and veteran Boise, Idaho rockers Built to Spill - long-time musical inspirations to the family Followill - opened the evening with short, solid sets that got everyone in the village eager and ready for the coronation of the Kings.
Timothy Norris Openers (and inspirations) Built to Spill
The Bowl was dark but illuminated by stretching pans of iridescent light and red smoke as the crowd anticipated the arrival of the quirky quartet. Starting off with "Crawl" from their monster album, KOL made the venerable venue pulsate in expectation. Caleb's passionate voice undoubtedly makes your skin crawl, in a good way. His raw and delicately mumbled intonation combined seamlessly with the urgent rhythm section. The foursome then transitioned into "Taper Jean Girl," from their 2005 album Aha Shake Heartbreak. From the moment he opened his mouth, the sold-out crowd was hooked. As Caleb's remarkable, whiskey-toned voice rose and fell, cousin Matt's guitar spiraled into translucent, melodic riffs.
Stopping and peering into the vast, adoring crowd Caleb quipped, "We came on early for you guys tonight because we need to be off the stage by 11pm. We just need to soak up this experience!" It was obvious to even those seated in the furthest reaches of the Bowl back lawn that these country boys-turned-superstars were really having a blast performing on the same stage where The Beatles, Stones, Doors and other icons had played before them.