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Kings Of Leon: Shockwaves NME Awards Show, Astoria, London; Monday February 26
Celebrities come out of the woodwork to hear the best album of the Kings’ career
Tonight, the devoted are going to get the hits they’re after, but they’re going to have to work for them. Because the Kings have a new album that sees them scaling the heights of the debut, and they want us to hear it. They launch straight into new track ‘Black Thumbnail’ with no explanation, and follow it with the equally unknown likes of vocoder-heavy ‘My Party’ and recent single ‘On Call’. Both are immense, but it’s the juggernaut drums and scratched raw guitars of the epic ‘McFearless’ that really stands out, Caleb’s heartbreakingly honest, cracked, raspy vocals the odd but perfect accompaniment to the noise from behind.
They might want to detach themselves from the young manhood of old, but as ‘The Bucket’ kicks in it’s obvious they haven’t lost that upstart verve. ‘Molly’s Chambers’ and ‘Spiral Staircase’ are starting to sound timeless, and the envy of every other musician in here is palpable as they realise these are songs they’ll never write. And that’s before we get to ‘California Waiting’. As they finish the encore with ‘Slow Night, So Long’ and the crowd disappears under a layer of bodies and plastic cups, we realise we haven’t moved our eyes and bodies for the last hour-and-a-half. America might not care about these boys yet, but we’ll look after them.
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