Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, The Whigs
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sept. 10, 2010
The Deal: Kings of Leon return to Charlotte and bring along solid opening acts.
The Good: Last time around, Kings of Leon couldn't sell out the Bojangles Coliseum, but this time Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre was packed with KoL fans and those who came out to see the openers, as well.
The night got started with a 30-minute set by Athens, Ga., indie rock trio The Whigs. The band, which often packs the Visulite Theatre, are still getting better every time I see them and brought forth every ounce of energy that they could to get the crowd going. Kicking off the set with "Already Young," the band later offered up "Like a Vibration" and "Right Hand on My Heart" before dedicating "Hundred/Million" to local Charlotte band The Sammies.
Next up were The Black Keys who kicked of its set with "ThickFreakness" followed by "I'll Be Your Man" and "Strange Times." The duo's heavy-handed blues-rock was relentless and the crowd instantly became fans as singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach thrashed about during solos and conjured up the blues gods with his vocals. The band was joined by "two friends" on bass and keyboards for half of their set, adding a bit more depth and offering more of a band sound instead of a "White Stripes with a better drummer..." sound. The set ended with "I Got Mine," and the crowd was left wanting a lot more than they got.
Kings of Leon hit the stage amid red and white smoke for an hour-and-a-half set that featured songs from all of their albums, including their upcoming release, Come Around Sundown. After opening up with "Crawl," "Molly's Chamber" and "My Party," the band launched into a blues-y new tune from the album.
What looked like a wall of beer-can tabs was actually a scattered artistic mess of spotlights that shone in random patterns throughout the night. The group appeared pretty straight-forward not much for smiles or movement, they simply came out and tightly ran through a bevy of songs. Singer Caleb Followill addressed the crowd at one point, saying, "I heard you have a strict curfew here, so we're trying to give you as much music as we can."
Before playing a new song later in the set, Followill acknowledged that new music isn't the best way to get a response from the crowd, but asked the crowd to "indulge us." It was a kinder, gentler Followill than the one at Bojangles Colisem last year that asked fans to bring more friends next time. I can see one of the new tunes, "Back Down South," gaining quick popularity.
The band wrapped up its set with a rough-and-tumble "Trani" before returning for an encore of "Knocked Up," "Use Somebo
The Bad: Kings of Leon has quickly gained a reputation for being male divas, and the opening moments of the show didn't help that. Caleb Followill walked out on stage and picked up his guitar, but when he turned around, he noticed the microphone stand had become loose and "wilted" where the microphone was near the ground. Instead of picking up the mic and tightening it, he simply pointed at it and stared at the techs offstage. One of them quickly came out and adjusted the stand. Really? It wouldn't have been easier to just do it himself?
The Verdict: A solid rock show and one in which the opening bands just about over-shadowed the headliner.
The Black Keys setlist
I'll Be Your Man
Chop and Change
Howlin' for You
She's Long Gone
Ten Cent Pistol
I Got Mine
Kings of Leon setlist
Sex on Fire
Back Down South