Kings of Leon - Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Thu 15 Aug 2013
- Henry Northmore
- 23 August 2013
A revitalised Followill clan display slick stagecraft at the inaugural Glasgow Summer Session
After rumours of inter-band tension and tales of diva behaviour backstage, Kings of Leon cancelled a string of US dates in 2011. They announced a six-month hiatus and as time rolled on people started to wonder if KoL had imploded under the weight of public scrutiny. After all, with a band made up of three brothers and one cousin, there’s no feud like a family feud. Two years later and we have a new album on the way (Mechanical Bull will be released in late September) and a set of high profile festival headline shows (including the inaugural Glasgow Summer Sessions out at Bellahouston Park).
After a perfectly pleasant but fairly average set of by the numbers indie from the Courteeners (only ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ really hits), it’s a strangely sombre entrance for Kings of Leon as bells toll and dry ice bathes the stage. If there are any underlying tensions they hide it well. The band seem refreshed and revitalised. Their country rock once again takes on an effortless swagger as they launch into ‘The Bucket’, cutting through the drizzly Glasgow night, every word sung back by the jubilant throng. Then they bring on the heartbreak with ‘Notion’.
They may have lost some of the feral power of their debut UK shows but they’ve replaced it with slick stagecraft. They’re now so at home playing concerts of this size, they seem comfortable on stage, and there’s a looseness that gives their southern rock a louche, raw edge. Matthew Followill even picks out chords with his teeth on a shimmering ‘Closer’. Before their break they sometimes appeared complacent, as if they were going through the motions. Tonight they appear reinvigorated. The first new track of the night, the upbeat stomp of ‘Supersoaker’, just adds to the feeling of a recharged KoL.
Admittedly there is a bit of a lull after ‘Fans’ but a sublime, hard rocking ‘Molly’s Chambers’ (from debut album Youth & Young Manhood) kicks things into high gear. ‘Be Somebody’ and ‘On Call’ are perfect festival fodder while never ignoring their Nashville roots, and an epic plaintive ‘Knocked Up’ soars.
Caleb Followill’s vocals have a wonderful gravelly quality that suits this new relaxed state, there’s even a spark of rarely seen humour as he playfully admonishes the crowd. Tonight’s gig showcases a re-energised Followill clan expertly playing off one another; from Jared’s looping bass to Nathan’s weighty drumming style while Matthew proves again and again his skill with a series of wonderful riffs (especially on the aforementioned ‘Knocked Up’).