Monday, May 28, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Kings of Leon

I went to check out the Kings of Leon at the House of Blues in Cleveland this week. This would mark the third time I have seen them play, and I've always had a good time at their shows. It is interesting to note however, how they have become apparently more beholden to the "business" of music over time. Example: The first time I saw them play was on the release of their first record. They played the small room in the Cleveland Agora in front of about 100 people, and the band looked like some cross of The Allman Brothers (circa 1972), Moby Grape, and a thrift store Sgt Pepper. Shakily heading from song to song, they really had a scruffy charm. If I remember correctly, they played their first record and that was it. Good evening ladies and gents, those are our 12 songs!

The next time I saw them, they had been cleaned up a bit. They played the sold out Beachland, thanks to weekly national press placement from whatever kick ass PR agent handles them. I guess they had an open date from a series of dates with the Rolling Stones. That year they would also do shows opening for Bob Dylan and U2. How was your year?

The presentation was a little more polished, and they definitely had the songs down cold. It was pretty impressive, and seemed like they really had the momentum rolling. (There's a pretty funny story about Whiskey Daredevil guitar player Bob Lanphier stumbling into their dressing room that night with a gutful of Jack Daniels. Jack had told Bob to go tell the guys how much he liked their show, but their British road manager guy wasn't that interested in having some NE Ohio drunk in their midst. Who can blame him? They were on the Stones date at Madison Square Garden the night before. That's a helluva fall from grace. Hanging out with Mick and Keith in the Garden...18 hours later, having no nonsense Cleveland guys pinching beers from your plastic beer tub in the Beachland basement.)

The date last week presented a stark contrast from the Agora show. Instead of some scruffy kids playing their version of rock n roll, you could almost smell the consultants, personal trainers, nutritionists, and label direction in the air. Replace that 1960s/70s Southern hippie rocker look with $700 haircuts, clean shaven faces, tight white jeans, and a pink t shirt/gold chain combo that I saw last on the set of "Footloose". Yes, they toured with U2 in Europe. That could give just about anyone bad ideas. They're impressionable young men for God's sake. And yes, I know the label has fronted all that dough to make sure their picture was in the press every week. They definitely need to get paid. Here's an idea. Maybe the way to do that is to just let them do what they do. It is the reason you signed them in the first place, no?

Hopefully the band will stop listening to the corporate people that generally know nothing about creativity, and just make the music they want to make the way they want to make it. If this current record and tour is representative of the music they want to make, my impression is "Oh Oh".

Random Notes: Nothing pisses me off more than people not taking responsibility for their actions. I saw last week where the family of deceased Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock is suing the bar where he was drinking prior to his fatal accident. Josh Hancock spent 3 1/2 hours at a bar knocking back drinks. While speeding and talking on his cell phone, he then drove his SUV into the back of a stopped tow truck. Police toxicology reports found him to be legally drunk and with weed in his system (and in the wreckage). His father responds by suing the bar, the manager of the bar, the tow truck driver AND the guy who's car stalled out and was being towed. Mr. Hancock, your son died tragically. Don't blame everyone else. He's the one that fucked up...I had a real nice weekend with nice underdog wins on Washington over St Louis, and the Angels over the Yanks. As long as the line keeps showing the Yankees as favorites, I'll keep hitting those games. I took a loss on the Brewers at +175 against the Padres and Peavy. He's been absolutely lights out so far and probably an early Cy Young favorite in the NL....The limited edition bottling of Great Lakes Brewing "Lake Erie Monster" is really nice. It's a super hopped up IPA with 9% alcohol. It tastes nice and smooth, but you better stay in your shoes or you'll get a real attitude adjustment...Loving the Tribe sweeping the Tigers in Detroit. This team looks legit.


At June 1, 2007 at 4:10:00 PM EDT , Blogger ScottyJ said...

I think you're right about the Indians, Greg. Totally legit.

They're the best team I've seen this season. The Red Sox, Tigers and Angels are very good as well, but the Tribe's the class of the bunch.


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