Kings of Leon


O2 Dublin

Seems like Ireland can’t get enough of the Followills. Even though the Tennessee rockers sold out Slane 2011 in double-quick time, 15,000 fans were unwilling to wait until May and packed into the O2 on Saturday to get a taster of the southern treats in store next summer.

The last time I saw Kings of Leon live, they were wide-eyed young bucks toting their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood,around the world. It’s a very different band that took the stage at the O2 – this was a southern rock version of U2, delivering big anthems with a twang, and lassoing the audience with well-aimed riffs and chant-along choruses.

It was their fourth album, Only By The Night, that elevated Kings of Leon to superstar status, particularly the hits Sex On Fireand Use Somebody.That album saw them grabbing glory by the short and curlies; their latest album, Come Around Sundown,finds them metaphorically lounging by the pool, sipping pina coladas and settling into a new comfort zone. The urgency may be diminished, but Radioactive, No Money, Pyroand Back Down Southeasily satisfy the appetite for big, stadium-friendly rockers.

But though Caleb Followill pushes his lion’s roar right to the edge, and brothers Jared and Nathan on bass and drums and cousin Matthew on guitar keep everything stoked up, it’s not enough to lift new songs The Endand The Immortals, while the doo-wop stylings of Mary sound completely out of synch with the rest of the set. They fare better with tried-and-tested crowd favourites such as Fans and Crawl, and a few cherry-picked older songs such as Molly’s Chambersand the punked-up Four Kicks.

Unsurprisingly, Use Somebodyis the set closer, and the crowd pick it up and run away with it, while Sex on Fire is saved for the encore. But it’s the final bloodrush of Black Thumbnailthat sends ’em home buzzing. Sounds like them boys are ready to take on Slane.