Sunday night shows are no one’s cup of tea, and I normally don’t venture out for fear of missing Alias (just kidding, kind of), but there was no way I was going to miss the Kings Of Leon show last night. The band, made up of three brothers and a cousin from Memphis, TN, took the stage around 9:30, so I DID get to see agent Sydney Bristow do some ass kicking, but the joys of watching an imaginary karate-kicking ¸berbabe were no match for the balls-out rock of KOL. I’ve been a fan of this band ever since I heard an advance copy of their debut EP months ago. The Holy Roller Novocaine EP, which the guys are currently touring in support of, is a slice of Southern fried rock & roll that melts in your mouth like Granny’s homemade blueberry pie (mmmmmm, blueberry pie). The EP finds lead singer Caleb Followill’s vocals laid back, almost effortless at times, but that’s not the case at all in a live setting.
Caleb growled and screamed his vocals over the impressively tight instrumentation of the band. I say “impressively” because these kids (yes, kids) had only been playing together seriously for a month before they landed Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams) to produce their major label debut. And get this: bass player, and youngest Followill brother, Jared, is only 16 years old. He’s only been playing bass for about a year and joined the band only because his family told him they need a bass player, and asked him to learn how.
The show itself was very high-energy and featured every song from the EP (except “California Waiting”) and about 4 or 5 new songs from their forthcoming debut album, which has just finished up the mastering process. “Molly’s Chambers” obviously rocked, as did “Holy Roller Novocaine” and “Wasted Time,” but those that are not on the EP were equally impressive. Most importantly, for a band who had never played in Chicago, and who are relatively new to the “scene,” they held nothing back. Their Pentecostal background shown though in this regard, and all four members were clearly giving the music 100% of their mind, body, and soul – Hallelujah!
The band is currently touring the US and will team up with Ben Kweller for five shows later this month. Go see these guys. They’re going to be stars.