This past Saturday was an unusually muggy night at West Palm's Cruzan Amphitheatre, even for Florida. The air had the consistency of peanut butter. Maxi dresses and shirts clung to audience members at the Kings of Leon show, all wet from sweat and humidity. And God bless the brave souls who wore jeans. We commend you.
After the London band of brothers Kongos and indie rockers Young the Giant finished their sets, Tennessee's Kings of Leon jump started its set with "Supersoaker," the first song off of its newest album Mechanical Bull.
The stage set up was a bit glam for a rock and roll band featuring watery, glittery blue lights to start and later neon lights, and a huge sign that announced the name of this newest release.
Without a single pause or intake of breath, KOL launched into "Tapered Jean Girl," an oldie off the album Aha Shake Heartbreak. Caleb Followill thanked the crowd before hitting the appropriately titled "Family Tree."
Next, in succession, came the morbid tune "The Bucket" ("You kick the bucket and I'll swing my legs"), the hauntingly catchy "Closer," upbeat "Notion" and a few others, all accented with trippy bright lights and kaleidoscopic effects. While not all audience members knew the older song lyrics, there was still plenty of jamming going on (a.k.a. white boy dancing).
Cameron Matthew Followill's Hawaiian shirt was appropriate when the band played "Mary" off its beachy album Come Around Sundown while the background created a summery atmosphere with sunsets, palm trees and retro pics from sandy '60s days past.
Caleb said, "It's good to be back in the South. This night and the night before were the best two nights [on tour]." Not surprisingly, the audience cheered loudly as "Back Down South" got started.
Arms waved in the dense night air during "Knocked Up" and "Pyro." Caleb wiggled his fingers to encourage even more singing and clapping from the audience.
"We want you to take out your phones and light them up" Caleb told us. The audience gladly complied, filling Cruzan with additional "stars" to the night. A starry night theme decorated the stage's screens and tiny foam bubbles shot out into the crowd.
"Cold Dessert" was played next, which was recorded by Caleb after a heavy night of drinking and, with the exception of the first verse, was completely improvised. Caleb even stated that he "almost cried" when the song was played back to him after.
Recently injured drummer Nathan was blowing a bubble, chewing on gum, and drumming away. A few dates prior to this were canceled due to an accident that left him with a broken rib. We wouldn't have known if we hadn't heard the news first. He played the whole concert with extreme gusto and perseverance.
The guys delayed ending the show after saying good night and slowly pretending to pack up their things. But the encore came, and after a prolonged intro. KOL played "Crawl," complete with some impressive shredding, American flag graphics, and flashing lights. After "Black Thumbnail," everyone's favorite song about gonorrhea, "Sex on Fire" closed out the night with fire effects and the whole crowd singing along.
Regardless of whether or not the crowdgoers were diehard fans, forced to go by their significant other, or just fans of "Sex on Fire," one thing was certain: a broken rib didn't slow things down for Kings of Leon. Every song was delivered with high energy from all members. Kings of Leon sound even better live. We were left asking,"Who broke what?"
KOL is here to stay.
Taper Jean Girl
Back Down South
Sex on Fire