The three brother, one cousin, all hair quartet that is The Kings Of Leon were in Chicago last night for the third time this year and the second consecutive time at Double Door. I've been lucky enough to catch all three of these shows and have seen them progress and develop into one of the most entertaining live acts around. Their first gig was at the intimate Schubas on Chcago's North Side for a crowd of about 50. It was one of the first stops on the band's first tour - ever. The second was a Double Door gig for about 150-200 people, many of them industry folks. Last night, Q101 (who were one of the first stations to take a chance on KOL) and Jameson Whiskey brought the band back to the Double Door. The venue sold out in no-time and expectations were high, especially from all the fans Kings Of Leon had made since "Molly's Chambers" was added at Q101 a couple months ago.
People who came out to this show had one treat after another in store for them throughout the course of the evening. Before the opening act took the stage RCA hosted a Strokes listening party, only fitting since KOL and the Strokes will be heading out on the road together this fall. The album rocked, though I didn't get to hear the whole thing. One song's verse sounded just like Adam Green's "Jessica Simpson" though.
Dorian Taj, one of the most prolific, talented, and overlooked singer/songwriters of the past 20 years in Chicago was specially chosen to open the show. His unique, punk influenced Americana rock songs were the perfect appetizer to the KOL main course and word has it the band are now fans as well.
When The Kings Of Leon took the stage, it was around an hour past the scheduled start time, but it only added to the excitement. The Double Door was packed with all kinds of people - the typical hipster crowd who normally frequent the establishment (you know, handle bar mustache guy, too-small sweater dude, mesh cap chick, etc.), some fratty looking meathead type dudes, and of course the local industry turnout. Everyone was excited, including myself, when the band took to the stage with their 1974 hair cuts, uber-small sport coats and tight ass bell bottom jeans. Lead singer Caleb also sported an ascot - it ruled!
Without any hesitation The Kings Of Leon exploded with "Red Morning Light," looking and sounding tighter and more confident than ever before. As someone who saw them play for a handful of people just months before (and as a big fan), it was a joyous occasion. Finally, people were getting it. Kids were dancing, singing along to all the words - and not just "Red Morning Light" and "Molly's Chambers." They were singing along with "Joe's Head," "Spiral Staircase," and even "Wicker Chair" which is only included on the EP, not the album.
As the set wore on, Caleb (singer/guitarist) and Matthew (lead guitarist) lost the sport coats to reveal these old school polos that they must have had since 3rd grade. I mean, these were the tightest shirts you've ever seen, seriously. There're not many people who can pull that off, and these guys did with ease.
The band played a blistering, hour-long set that culminated with an encore of the sex-rock, climax-inducing "Trani." When it was over, they dropped their guitars and walked off stage to a roaring ovation. I've been saying it all along. These guys are for real. This is just the beginning for The Kings Of Leon.