Kings Of Leon at Marlay Park, Dublin, Friday 4th July 2014
Having only notched one top 10 hit since 2008, one would be forgiven for struggling to understand how Kings Of Leon are still drawing crowds to Ireland’s biggest venue. Admittedly, Marlay Park is quite a step down from the dizzying heights of Slane Castle but it would still appear too large for a band whose talents are evidently on the decline. But to think in that way means you would be ignoring the brilliant back catalogue that the Tennessee lads have at their disposal. It’s those throwbacks to early day Kings Of Leon that means it’ll be a while before they disappear over the horizon.
Ireland’s golden boys Kodaline are charged with warming up an audience who look both confused by and slightly afraid of the black clouds looming large nearby. Having just played The Other Stage at Glastonbury, the lads from Swords showed no signs of nerves as they blasted through a set containing all seven singles taken from their debut album ‘In A Perfect World.’ It seems that’s the way to success. Write a host of harmless indie rock songs and release the majority of them, thus maximising the potential reach of your material.
This is proved by the fact that despite being a support act, a massive percentage of the audience are capable of singing every word of almost every song back to the lads verbatim. That said, Kodaline do what they set out to do extremely well. They’re extremely well rehearsed live and seem to revel in the audience interaction that the likes of High Hopes and All I Want allow for.
To say that a large percentage of the crowd in attendance at Marlay Park weren’t exactly die hard Kings Of Leon fans would be more than accurate. As proven by the fact that as the Tennessee natives take to the stage shortly before 9pm and blast straight into Supersoaker, apart from those between the stage and the sound desk, the crowd seem more interested in getting the next round in or queueing for toilets than what’s taking place on the stage. The diehards down the front though are treated to a blast from the past in the shape of Taper Jean Girl which is followed by firm favourite Fans.
My Party rounds off a powerful start to the show which is only let down by the inclusion of Family Tree which is taken from their latest album Mechanical Bull. This becomes the theme of the night very quickly. Any time Kings Of Leon looks like they’re building up some momentum the show is immediately slowed down again by the inclusion of some new material, which obviously they have to play, but the quality of which is so poor in comparison to the rest of the setlist. For every Milk, there’s a Back Down South. For every Molly’s Chamber, a Pyro kills the mood again.
A severe downpour dampens spirits and clothing and the show never really recovers. A decent amount of the audience had already left by the time the songs they’d most likely come to see (Use Somebody & Sex On Fire) are played but for those down the front the party goes on as the encore includes hard hitters Crawl and Black Thumbnail which ensures the show ends on a high note.
The fact of the matter is Kings Of Leon are not the band they used to be. They aren’t capable of captivating 30,000 fans anywhere near as much as their Canadian counterparts Arcade Fire did last weekend, not even close. However, put the same show on in the O2 and this review may have turned out completely different.
Kings of Leon Photo Gallery
Photos: Ste Murray