Written by Eddie Ferranti
Oct 28, 2008 at 08:00 PM
ImageSlid into a gig recently like a hot knife thru butter in Houston. I had read an interview in the Rolling Stone with Chrissie Hynde, who is one of my all time idols in rock and roll history, and in that interview she was asked if any one band had caught her interest. She stated that she was really encouraged by the raw energy of The Kings of Leon.  Growing up in northeastern Ohio in the 70’s, I hooked my ass up to the Pretenders bandwagon from the get go. Afterall, Chrissie was from Akron and she headed to England where she got together with James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon and Martin Chambers. All they did was land in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So being that I’m always out looking for new young talent, I checked out KOL up front and personal.

Man was I impressed. Not only was the place packed (on a Tuesday night no less), but it was electric from the start. Cruising into town behind their latest release “Only by the Night”, they scorched the ready to rock crowd with “Crawl”, “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” to name a few from the latest. Bathed in super sonic high tech lighting, the band had the crowd roaring.  These dudes showed from the start that they are about the music. Barely saying anything, they just flat out paralyzed the crowd with a slick delivery and super sweet sound. This rock band made up of 3 brothers and a first cousin are unique indeed. Over in England they are huge, selling out Wemberley Stadium 3 nights in a row type big. Satellite radio has embraced them also in a huge manner. Being dubbed a driving force behind the “new rock revolution” and fronting king pins like U2 and the Strokes, has helped throw them to the front of the line in must see bands in the USA.

The growling vocals of Caleb Followill, smokin’ nasty lead guitar of Matthew Followill, bold bass back up of Jared Followill and the bombastic Martin Chambers-like thump of Nathan Followill blend together to form a Pretenders type mystique in their live gig to me. “Revelry”, “Closer”, “Cold Desert” and “Manhattan” were also highlights from this outstanding new album from these gents. To think these guys are only 4 CD’s in is unreal. Whatever this band earns in accolades is well deserved because they’ve done it the right way-touring 5 years straight!  CD’s are good, but LIVE these guys deliver like few others now a days folks.

The band’s name comes from 2 generations , father and grandfather, both named Leon. From the looks of it they may be passing the torch of generations of rock from the hand off of musicians like Ms. Hynde to the future of good old fashioned rock…bring it on!

As far as the openers, The Stills came down from Canada to kick off thee evening. These dudes have been touring with KOL since 10/11/08 and the mutual admiration was obvious when leadman Tim Fletcher let it be known that KOL had written their set list for the night joking  that they had thrown in a few curveballs prefacing “Oh Shoplifter”-normally not played……This energetic band has a good sound and a bright future in the genre. A small but apparently loyal group of fans turned out early and seemed pleased. Hey guys- turn the bass drum DOWN some next gig okay?!

The New York rockers, We Are Scientists,  filled the gap with their fusion of guitar rock and digital tech talents. WAS are fairly fresh off a stint supporting REM where they self admittedly had to step it up. The relaxed focus proved dividends for the crowd which was blown back right away with a smokin’ hot second song “Use My Body”!  The definite highlight of the set but disappointingly too early.

The next tunes went into a proclaimed “retro” mode which landed flat and left me asking what happened to thee “other” band I just heard. WAS turned that page with light banter regarding the truth in announcing the release and playing their next single from “Brain Thrust Mastery”. I was impressed with the total accompaniment of Max Hart and how it compliments Murray and Cain so well. He totally fills out the sound that this band gets in the studio on stage…Look for more of these dudes in the future IF they turn DOWN the bass guitar next time around !!!