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Concert Reviews:
Kings of Leon doesn't waste a moment at DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Repetition can make hearts grow fonder -- or at least that was the case for Kings of Leon on Monday night, Aug. 14, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

The Nashville modern rock troupe, playing its second metro area show in five months (since March 9 at Detroit's Fox Theatre), drew a healthy though far from sold-out crowd to the amphitheater for an efficient hour-and-45-minute show during which the group blew through 25 songs from all seven of its albums -- with an emphasis, of course, on its latest, 2016's "WALLS." Kings of Leon has a limited number of hits in its homeland (far more overseas), but Monday's show revealed a considerable depth of catalog -- as well as plenty of dedicated fans as well versed in material from 2003's "Youth & Young Manhood" as they are with the likes of "Sex On Fire" and "Use Somebody."

Because the four band members are not exactly visual dynamos -- though guitarist Matthew Followill moves a bit and Nathan Followill, sporting a Detroit Tigers jersey, showed several times he CAN drum and chew gum (and even blow bubbles) at the same time -- the onus was on their playing and the show's production to bring the energy, and both were largely successful. Following an opening set of buoyant, brassy soul-rock by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Kings of Leon started "small," using red curtains to frame the band in close quarters on stage, with two video screens behind it but looking more like a small theater setup than an amphitheater spectacle during the first eight songs, culminating with a charged "Use Somebody."

it was only after a too-short set of acoustic-styled renditions of "Milk" and "Talihina Sky" in front of the curtain that the concert grew to full proportion. Frontman Caleb Followill began "WALLS" alone before the curtain rose again, this time revealing a third video screen and a full-scale light show as well as two additional musicians helping to fill out the group's sound. With the combination of live footage and conceptual videos and a muscular sonic assault, it became a bona fide Rock Show, offering plenty of eye candy to complement and bolster the group's densely textured arrangements.

While a bit of sameness creeped into the proceedings there were more than a few highlights that stepped away from the pack, whether it was the slinky funk of "Family Tree" or the urgent pulse of "Crawl." Kings of Leon lent a dub flavoring to "The Immortals," while "Radioactive" offered a moody dynamic that shifted into an urgent, driving groove and "Knocked Up" breathed with an airy ebb and flow.

Kings of Leon finished the encore-less show strong, too, with a triplet of "Supersoaker," "Sex On Fire" and "Waste A Moment." And with little said during the show on stage, the group certainly didn't waste a moment of the night, wisely letting the music do the -- mostly worthwhile -- talking.

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