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Kings offer raw rock on a plate

PUBLISHED: 11:03 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:21 23 August 2010

EVERYBODY is buzzing about the Kings of Leon at the moment -even my parents used their free bus passes to go and see at in Wembley Arena on Monday.

EVERYBODY is buzzing about the Kings of Leon at the moment -even my parents used their free bus passes to go and see at in Wembley Arena on Monday.

Within a decade the band of three brothers and a cousin have emerged as a global success from their backwater roots as sons of a Tennessee preacher.

With four albums under their belt since 2003, the rock band is currently sloping around the UK performing at arenas packed tighter than Russell Brand's trousers.

Having seen their thick and fast performance at the O2 Arena on December 11, it was easy to see what has propelled them to stardom.

Far from confused, superficial genres like electro-indie, the Kings proffer raw rock on a plate that their rammed audiences are only too happy to lap up.

Starting at the O2 with two tracks from their latest album, Only By Night, they typically dodged the normal unnecessary introduction by playing six songs back to back.

With a measured build up the Kings started out with the haunting echo of Closer, upped the tempo with the crunching chords of Crawl, before driving the crowd wild with a breathless shift their third album, Because of the Times.

Regressing further and further into their earliest material through My Party, Razz, then Molly's Chambers, the Kings laid bare the hungry rock origins of their latest material.

They might feel insecure enough to do this - when Only By Night was released this year many fans grumbled that the album sounded like it was thrown out for touring arenas.

Yet it was still greedily snapped up with an unquestioning idolisation that, I admit, did tickle my music snobbery a touch.

Whilst the Kings have filled the vacuum for frill-free rock bands with undoubted talent, you could say that their material is fairly simplistic.

Whilst some reports moaned that sound at the O2 was muffled, the one criticism I found was that they were unadventurous.

In a performance devoid of covers or surprise material, every song was played as if it had come directly off the CD. I hope in time they will start to improvise on stage.

Yet if you take away the pure, simplistic attractiveness of the Kings, their bubble might burst altogether.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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