Live review: Kings of Leon @ SSE Hydro

By Rebecca Gallacher

I can still remember the first time I heard Kings of Leon. The opening riff of Sex on Fire came blaring out my radio and within two bars I was hooked. The first time I saw them was at their Bellahouston Park gig in 2013. The memory of the thundering bass ringing out across the park heaving with fans enjoying the last few rays of the late summer sun remains as one of my favourite memories.

The band were here to promote their seventh album, WALLS, which was released last year. This album continues on the longstanding tradition of the band to have a five syllable album titles – Come Around Sundown, Only by the Night –  with WALLS being the acronym for We Are Like Love Songs.

Unfortunately, I missed part of their opening track, ironically titled The End, however, this did not deter from an otherwise exceptional gig. The twenty-six song set list was packed with songs from each album, showcasing both commercial successes and fan favourites. The instantly recognisable Southern drawl of Caleb Followill steered the band into a near faultless performance, showcasing their professionalism as musicians.

In typical Followill fashion, the small talk was kept to a minimum. They casually introduced themselves to the screaming crowd and later thanked them for their support. The band believe in letting their music speak for itself and have admitted to getting nervous when speaking to large crowds.

Sex on Fire made an early appearance in the first half of the set; the unwavering energy from the band was on par with Bellahouston but the purpose built walls of the SSE Hydro created a more manufactured environment. From then on the band, clearly having found their footing, unreservedly embraced their last gig of their UK tour and the crowd revelled in the shared experience.

The set up was simple. The stage, draped with resplendent red velvet curtains, was surrounded by six screens which hung high above the audience and showed pictures of each member in the divided album cover style the band are known for.

Halfway through the set; after a solo by Caleb, in which The Runner made a triumphant return to stage, and an acoustic performance by the band of Comeback Story, the curtains lifted to reveal the rest of the stage, with two other musicians, and a giant screen at the back. A small change to ensure the band filled the arena.

Since Bellahouston, the band have become more comfortable in their success and no longer feel the need to place songs like Sex and Fire on a pedestal in the closing few songs. Having seen them when I was 17 and now at 21, I have witnessed them mature and evolve into the industry professionals they are today.

It’s obvious that Kings of Leon’s maturity and professionalism today is the result of a nearly two decade long tumultuous journey through the music industry, proving theirs to be the comeback story of a lifetime.