If their aim was to make people dance, then they certainly succeeded.
The fourth day of the BST Hyde Park saw The Pixies, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Local Natives, Frightened Rabbit, Deaf Havana, Tom Grennan, The Cactus Blossoms, Highly Suspect, Saint Motel, Benjamin Booker and Billy Raffoul all perform with the Kings of Leon as the headliner of the night.
The Nashville quartet followed The Pixies opening with the title song from their seventh and last album WALLS, released three years after “Mechanical Bull”. Caleb, Nathan, Jared and Matthew Followill appear to have departed from their iconic southern and blues roots for their current album, instead opting to explore indie and alternative genres. Perhaps the influence can be put down to producer Markus Dravs who has also worked in the studio with Coldplay and Arcade Fire.
Kings of Leon have toured the States from January and arrived in the UK for their European leg of the tour. BST saw them play a variety of songs, which certainly sound less rock’n’roll than their first album, however, this doesn’t detract from the fact that WALLS is definitely a well-composed and lyrically strong album.
The band no doubt remains a symbol of rock despite the alternative tone of WALLS. The band played some epic rock anthems and were mildly scuffed enough to satisfy those original Kings of Leon fans who prefer the band’s older tracks and style. The set list consisted of a proportionate mixture of rhythmic mechanics, old synths, echoes and reverbs. A red velvet curtain was the background for the band’s set list paired with an intriguing medley of lights and transparency. Videos were also projected on the big screen.
Kings of Leon chose from a broad range of their most famous songs starting from their first album “Youth and Young Manhood”, such as ‘Red Morning Light’, ‘Molly’s Chamber’, and the astounding ‘Trani’ where you could instantly recall the Caleb sound and energy of golden times. If their aim was to make people dance, then they certainly succeeded.
The band closed their set with one of their most recognised tracks ‘Sex on Fire’ followed by ‘Waste a Moment’ from their last album. Other songs included ‘Find Me, Craw’l, ‘Kings of The Rodeo’, ‘The Bucket’, ‘On Call, Closer’, ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Back Down South’ and ‘Super Soaker’.
The audience was ambivalent to their disengaged mood. Sadly, they lacked intimacy with the crowd and only briefly appeared at the end to thank fans and take a bow. However, fans remained engaged throughout the set list. The night was warm and the location provided the perfect environment to dance all night to anthems from Kings of Leon.
WALLS, the acronym for “We are like love songs”, is the meaning of an album that, through the lyrics, seems to describe feelings of broken dreams, ghosts and death which are all definitely part of love but with a positive attitude, a good fight…a Beautiful War I would say!
On the other hand for a fan like myself WALLS was already a red light on the first listen. At BST the band lacked their former energy, although with ‘Around the World’, ‘Eyes On You’ and ‘Find Me’ we can still keep the faith that something good is coming akin to their former days.
WALLS are coming down for sure with this album!