Like a sleeping giant this night erupted from no where. The mood of the first part of the night was calm and collected but out of the haze the crowd intensified. This would have been a high energy mosh pit for a punk show, let alone a Kings of Leon show. The band fed off this energy and their playing became more impassioned. Calebs vocals started to pour pure emotion and the band started to have fun with the night. With the crowd fueling off the band, this give and take between the two entities made for an intense finish to this 2nd evening in GM Place.
The Whigs played a whole different set from their reservoir, making for a completely different feel from the first night. The lead singer was more active and hopped around the stage in a 60s rock styled musical embodiment. The drummer was throwing his head around with intensity to every song, flipping up his main of hair. As for the bassist, his passion was from a place of more intensity from the night before. The Whigs were not better or worse, than the previous night, it was apples and oranges. One thing that threw everyone was the lack of reflection from the crowd. On a night where the band was playing with a heavier style and with deeper rock output, the crowd was calm and almost seemed to not know how to react.
After the opener finished their set and faded to the backstage area, the mass of bodies on the floor started to grow exponentially. You could feel the energy growing, you could feel the people anticipating the main act. People who showed up late tried to push their way to the front, and were met with resistance from the long standing residents. Beverages were being consumed at an increased rate, still the floor grew. Then finally the lights went down, and the crowd grew silent.
With the energy that was building it felt like an explosion would take place. To the surprise of everyone, there was no explosion. When the Kings of Leon took to the deck and strolled in with smiles and hands waving to the crowd, the reaction was mere screams. The first few songs, drew hollers and had some people swaying, but nothing like the previous night. Most of the mass seemed younger than the night before, and seemed almost mesmerized by the band. By the 4th song, something started to happen. People began dancing, and it spread like wildfire.
Soon enough the entire floor was one giant jumping mass, almost in unison they jumped to the beat of every song. Small slam dance circles erupted throughout, pockets of intense moshing, was this really happening at a Kings of Leon concert. Women climbed on the shoulders of men and some even bared their flesh to the band, and a few distracted concert goers caught a glimpse I’m sure Crowd surfers started to ride the mass wave and one after another they filtered over the top towards the security partition at the front.
This was crazy, a once awe struck crowd was now taking the night in the other direction. The pure energy fueled the band and they became more intense with their playing. The bands playing fueled the crowd, and their dancing and reciprocation started to amplify. This back and forth continued with every song, it was a pure emotional roller coaster.
The set list for the night was a whats what of the Kings repertoire. In comparison of the two nights I would choose this one as the hands down favorite. The main reason for my decision, was they played the Devil’s Song (aka Lucifers Song), which is a glimpse into the next album. A decision to take their next album back to their blues roots, has the fans dripping at the mouth. To hear this pure blues song played live, had the crowd begging for more.
All in all this night was great, the set list was better but it was too up and down for me. The first night, was a consistent level of playing, a consistent crowd reaction and just held its own much better. Had the pure energy of the last half of the show been present the entire time, it would have been my favorite concert of all time. The lack of enthusiasm of the fans drained the first part of the show and almost distracted me from the band. In no way was this The Whigs or The Kings of Leons fault, but a concert is an over all experience, and this severely took away from my experience.
I still see this band as not nearly being done yet, they have a ton of talent, and are no where near peaking. Calebs vocals are better than they have ever been, Matthews guitar styling is getting deeper and more rounded. Jared and Nathan are strengthening the core of the band and bring the true sound to life. Everything is up hill still for this group and I would urge everyone to jump at any chance they have to see them. With the down fall of the music industry constantly looming on the horizon; seeing your favorite band live is a sure fire way to make sure you support them. My advice is to get out there and listen, see a show, take a friend, and make sure that The Whigs and The Kings of Leon are on your list of must see acts.
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photos by Jamie Taylor (click to enlarge)