Saturday Afternoon: Kings Of Leon At Discovery Green
Kings of Leon, Panic! at the Disco
Photos by groovehouse
April 2, 2011
About halfway through Saturday's Kings Of Leon show at Discovery Green, part of the corporate Big Dance Concert Series in conjunction with the Final Four in Houston this weekend, we met up with a music industry friend and got to talking about the Kings and what they mean now to the music world as a sea of thousands crowded around us.
"They are truly one of the only young rock bands that can tour and make a profit," he said, remarking on the glut of older rock artists who each summer can still pack big venues like the shed in the Woodlands and Toyota Center a few blocks from Disco Green, but still remain notably older than the target KOL audience, and the band themselves. KOL is a safe bet.
The notion that KOL is the only rock band able to make a dent with mainstream rock audiences, on their own without relying on being on a major package tour, makes it all that harder to get a bead on them live.
Panic! at the Disco
To judge them against everyone else on modern rock radio is lazy, because three years ago they became the biggest rock band in the country, which counts for something even if you jumped off their bandwagon around the time "Sex On Fire" hit big and turned lead singer Caleb Followill and the rest of the family band into "aww-shucks" sex symbols.
KOL almost seemed too big to play a corporate event like the Big Dance, let alone for free. Blame the boys' love of college basketball, or just the breaks of being a nationally-palatable rock band.
Opening with last year's "Radioactive" from Come Around Sundown, the band hit all the sweet spots with the packed lawn, filled mostly with younger fans throwing cans of Coke Zero and souvenirs at each other, tokens of love from the beloved sponsors.
KOL remain a great, slow-burning live band for all intents and purposes. They do best when they play in between the shadows of their pop construction, like on 2008's album track "Notion". This machine has been in a constant, improving flux since they first appeared sporting white-trash 'staches and Stillwater hair in 2003 while touring with the Strokes and making us all tilt our heads in wonder.
To quote our friend again, "Kings Of Leon doesn't suck, it's their fans that suck," he cracked as we saw a guy walk by us, shirtless shaved body, wrap-around shades, hulking, muttering "Your sex is on fire." More of a threat than a compliment.
The band's music improved over the past decade, got catchier, perhaps even more ageless, as the hipsters from Youth And Young Manhood fell away in disgust. Same old story, with different players.