A Night of Rock and Roll in the Swamps of Jersey

September 14th, 2009

Kings of Leon – Izod Center – September 12, 2009

Kings of Leon
If many American music fans were late to the party that is Kings of Leon, it doesn’t feel evident at their live shows. Two songs into the band’s encore, and those in the sold-out Izod Center crowd sang as loudly to the moody, seven-minute “Knocked Up” as they did at the beginning of the night. Lead singer Caleb Followill noticed: “It makes me think you guys might have more than just the last record,” he posited, to cheers. “It’s about fucking time.”

Kings of Leon’s stellar performance on Saturday showcased the pinnacle of the band’s overdue rise to stardom in the United States—after becoming stars in the United Kingdom long ago. Playing to the newer fans, the Followills started their set with the two songs that open their newest album, Only by the Night, “Closer” and “Crawl.” But from there they moved backward through their discography, mixing songs like “Molly’s Chambers” (off their first album) with a heavy dose of their third album, Because of the Times. Both their strong radio singles and their coarser, Southern rock-influenced songs resonated with the crowd. The rest of their nearly two-hour set showed why Kings of Leon is one of the best live acts today, featuring moments like the chill-inducing “Revelry” and the sing-along chorus of “Sex on Fire,” which has become a must-see addition to any rock and roll bucket list. —Sean O’Kane