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Monday, 15 December 2008

Gig Review: Kings Of Leon w/ M83 @ Bournemouth BIC 14/12/08

M83 are a band who's sophistication and grandeur really amazes me, and i always thought them an interesting choice of band to open for the much more direct alternative rock which is Kings Of Leon. For the people who arrived on time, M83 left them more in awe than warmed up for the chaos which ensued when Kings arrived on the stage. Opening with 'Closer', by no means an upbeat track, your typical large group of sweaty and drunk 25 year old men more often seen at Pigeon Detectives or The Enemy gigs descended upon the front section of the floor, looking more for a fight (several of which were started) than for any kind of genuine enjoyment for the music. I was glad very few of these arrived on time for M83, but the cringeworthy football crowd chant of 'who are ya?!' was still heard echoing from somewhere near the left hand side as Antonio Gonzalez and band entered the stage. When M83 began they humbly demanded respect, and this they got, playing through mostly songs from the new album namely the sweeping 'Graveyard Girl' and single 'Kim & Jessie'. An extreme passion was clearly visible in the performance with M83 really acting like they meant what they were singing. They didn't particularly acknowledge the crowd but put in a very polished and tight performance, tainted only by the lack of organisation which led to M83's lead guitarist spending the third and fourth songs of the set searching for his second guitar backstage.

This was the first time i had seen Kings Of Leon after missing tickets for their date at the BIC last year. I much prefer Because of The Times to Only By The Night but after hearing how fantastic the gig was last year I was expecting better from the evening. At times they seemed like they weren't really with it and none of the band members really moved away from their places on stage. Maybe a lack of enthusiasm for their new album, which whilst opening new doors in terms of mass popularity, has alienated both themselves the longer term fans of the garage rock Kings of Leon became established for. Sex on Fire provoked both the best crowd reaction and the worst, one half of the crowd visibly disgusted (the tickets for the gig went on sale before Only By The Night's release) and the other half acting as if it was the reason why they attended.

I hope that the lack of enthusiasm i saw at the recent gig combined with the drop in standards seen on the recent album are not signs of a sellout, especially since so many bands with the same fan base have released weaker albums than the standards they set with their others; Snow Patrol and Razorlight to name but two. There was no question that the gig would fail to create a crowd reaction in the sense that the gig almost played itself, with Caleb losing what little singing voice he began the gig with around the half way mark. The band played twenty songs before and four songs after the encore and wrapped up with 'Black Thumbnail'. Waiting at the front after the gig, merchandise was being hurled of the stage, and although i did not win the scrap which ensued following the landing of several drumsticks, i came away with a setlist, and here it is:

Graveyard Girl
We Own The Sky
Kim & Jessie
Teen Angst
Skin Of The Night

Kings Of Leon
My Party
King Of The Rodeo
Joe's Head
Four Kicks
Pistol Of Fire
Sex On Fire
The Bucket
Use Somebody
On Call
Cold Desert

Knocked Up
Slow Night, So Long
Black Thumbnail


  1. i really love M83 and Kings of Leon
    such a weird choice for an opening act, don't you think?
    i felt similarly to the band Blonde Redhead opening for Interpol.
    they're such different bands (that i both adore) and their sounds are completely opposite.

    it's nice that way though.
    i wouldn't want too bands of the same sound playing one after another. it would be boring.

  2. A weird choice but definitely a good one, i love them both.
    blonde redhead and Interpol, sounds interesting, would have loved to have been there to see all the confused Interpol fans..
    i've never seen such opposite sounds at a gig though as Kings of Leon and m83, there isn't even any comparison!

  3. Last years gig on the 4th of July was far much better and a better crowd..........

  4. i thought the gig was good, i can't stand the posturing and politics between those who claim the earlier kings of leon to be their own. I started off with youth and young manhood when it came out and I actually like the new album, regardless of what the elitist too cool for school kids might think about it. Seems half the people there are more concerned about the opinions of others than the actual music.

  5. I saw the Gig in Manchester, and personally loved every minute, being drtagged in from the beginning and held and enthralled all the way through, i had barely any voice left by the last song and did not want the night to end.
    Kings of Leon were and still are one of the most individual and amazingly tallented groups around, I love their music from youth and young manhood to only by the night, im not the kind of guy that wants to be cool and stick to the first two albums, the Kings have grown up and with them, so has their music, and their fans.
    the writer of the main article seems a little disgruntled from the start, even stating that they didnt really like the latest album that much, or words to that effect. A strong negative opinion before the gig seems to have sadly led to a very biassed write up afterwards, its a petty really.

  6. i think you're getting me wrong here. i'm not an amazing fan of the new album, and my reasoning for that is not because i want to be 'cool' and say i prefer the older Kings of Leon to new. Believe me i have listened to the new album. Maybe my opinion of the album did colour my opinion of the gig, but it didn't colour me seeing a visible lack of enthusiasm from the band on stage, it also didn't colour me seeing quite a divide in the crowd between the people who did want to disown the new kings of leon and those who clearly had bought tickets upon hearing sex on fire. I enjoyed the night overall, but i think i would have enjoyed the gig more a year ago, with more tracks from Because of the Times, and a crowd who wasn't half made up of drunken men, jumping on the bandwagon of a band purely because of their new found mainstream attention.
    I don't think i've been particularly negative in my write up other than my comments on the performance and parts of the crowd, i enjoyed the gig and am glad i went, maybe i didn't make that clear, but calling me 'petty' is petty of you.


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