Concerts Concerts It's Good To Be The Kings (Of Leon)

It's Good To Be The Kings (Of Leon)

Kings Of Leon at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Kings Of Leon
The Stills
Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto, On
July 28, 2010

Review by: Whitney Pineault
Photos by: Pete Nema

Nashville, Tennessee's Kings Of Leon are undeniably at the top of their game when it comes to making a great rock album. The massive success of 2008's Only By The Night has solidified them as one of the most revered bands in recent years. Along with good friends and tour mates, The Stills, the southern rock gents returned to Toronto as part of their North American summer amphitheatre tour.

Kings Of Leon

Fans rose to their feet in excitement as clouds of red smoke began to pour out onto the stage. Kings Of Leon emerged confidently amidst a surge of red lighting and kicked off their set with “Crawl”, one of the highlights of Only By The Night. The evening air was charged with elation, which only seemed to intensify as “Notion” barreled in next. Thousands upon thousands joined in to sing along with frontman Caleb Followill as he belted out the lyrics in his signature raspy and rugged voice. Musically, the band sounded utterly flawless, almost as if they had popped in a recording and were running on autopilot, except about a hundred times better, give or take. Visually however, I found myself paying closer attention to the video screens rather than the actual band (and not just because of my location).

A succession of earlier material including Aha Shake Heartbreak’s “Taper Jean Girl” and “Four Kicks”, Youth And Young Manhood’s “Molly’s Chambers”, and Because Of The Time’s “Fans” had the crowded amphitheatre dancing happily with whoever happened to be seated next to each other. It’s always quite lovely when music brings complete strangers together. The band also previewed a couple of brand new tracks from their upcoming album. Both were very well received and in truth, a young lady to my right exclaimed how excited she was to be hearing some new material for the first time. I wasn’t expecting Kings Of Leon to include a cover in their set, but was thoroughly pleased with their rendition of the classic Pixies tune “Where Is My Mind?”.

Though the band stayed fairly close-lipped toward the crowd, Caleb confessed, “We’ve had some pretty good shows on this tour, but this is one of the best crowds we’ve had yet.” He then asked for a little help with the next song, which happened to be the illustrious hit “Sex On Fire”. My eardrums were left throbbing as the entire venue, it seemed, lent their voices to the massive sing-along. As the band’s set drew to a close with “Trani”, the crowd appeared to be far too riled up for the night to be over, and rightfully so. But after what felt like a rather lengthy break, Kings Of Leon returned to the stage and delivered an awe-inspiring encore beginning with “Knocked Up”, to the delight of many. The highlight of the evening came when "Use Somebody" generated the most deafening response yet. The band poured every ounce of energy they had left into that performance and it did not go unnoticed. In true rock show fashion, the audience was treated to a modest display of pyro before being sent our separate ways.

With details of the band's fifth studio album Come Around Sundown having just been confirmed for release on October 19, it seems Kings Of Leon may be back for another round in the new year.

Info: Kings Of Leon
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Video: Notion

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The Stills

What began as a dreary July evening brimming with garbage bag ponchos and disgruntled lawn ticket holders quickly (and thankfully) transformed into a near perfect night for an outdoor rock show. Montreal indie rock band The Stills opened the show as fans steadily poured into the venue. The band has a great dynamic that allows their music to work well in both large and modestly sized venues. A varied assortment of material comprised their set giving any first time listeners a suitable taste of what the band has to offer. Highlights included Logic Will Break Your Heart’s “Lola Stars And Stripes” and “Still In Love Song”. The pounding drums of “Snakecharming The Masses” from 2008’s Oceans Will Rise echoed throughout the amphitheatre to great affect while “Being Here”, one of The Stills’ strongest tracks to date, seemed to win over many audience members. The band also debuted a couple of brand new tracks including "Keep It Going" which they sent out to Kings Of Leon.

With the incredible opportunity to expose their music to countless pairs of fresh ears as well as a new album slated for release in 2011, it seems The Stills may have a very exciting year ahead of them.

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