Gigs are great locations to observe one of the commoner minor faults with contemporary Britain; men like getting topless and women don’t – a certifiable fault. This should for no reason be believed to be a consequence of poor chests however, at least not at the Murrayfield outing of Kings of Leon. But they’re not on for at least 4 hours and for now skin is on the menu.
While the support acts are on we have a strange scene, like an oversized unfurled version of Cowgate on Saturday, but more fetid, less tamed. Hastily, suspicions people are not here for music are roused. The support acts haven’t the names to draw the numbers away from the bar, where the majority prepare to become victims of exuberance, and they go largely unheard. As is expected, the crowd is young. Too many screaming teenagers; torrid masturbators are hustling back and forth screeching at nobody and nothing, the orchestrators of numerous scenes of superfluous high drama and young ejaculation. There is no suggestion that there is anything they could be doing anywhere else that could be worthwhile now they’re here. That is entirely expected. But maybe not that; a paraplegic dwarf in a wheel chair in high heels pushes your calm desire to remain able to classify everything without feeling a little affected. Peacocks are also in high attendance, as well as muscles and his obligatory caramel thighed sex doe. They totter by every minute. High quality seduction sits here and there; a suavely proffered Lambert and Butler is taken, shyly and with giggles but taken nonetheless, with the odd fresh line –“Hen, we were always gonnae meet”, before she allows herself to be lured back into his little parlour of sexual notoriety after the gig.
Kings come on to high applause and screaming – they repute to love Scotland (“there’s just something about you guys”) – about 9 and rustle up a tight Radioactive before nipping into a distorted Four Kicks. The swaying horde sing along – this is our band and they love us. Criticisms of loose live performances have long since been shaved away with the beards. It’s a polished run through and they are undoubtedly well received. After nearly 10 years on the road, it does feel more like a business than in the red neck days and there is a certain appreciable prepared nature to the performance, especially Jared’s between song exchanges but the feeling is, that’s all that was wanted.
Evidences people have just come for a jolly are easy. If you exit a gig halfway through to go and buy an overpriced hotdog from a jar where it stood fermenting, you’re a soulless fuck. But many do, speechlessly appalled by the audacity of the bar to close at 10. Some too fucked to even get into the gig, lay across the gravel like punctured cetacean carcasses, feebly gurgling into the concrete at the bland injustice of it all, hugging their empty pint glasses to them if you go too close. Anyone who pays over £25 to see a rock and roll band and thinks it’s revolutionary is a moron and perhaps this is some stand against the high prices by buying a ticket and then refusing to go in – but I don’t think so.
The hits are played and received with zeal, Sex On Fire’s “explicit” lyrics sweetly yodelled along to without too much trouble and Use Somebody evidences the maudlin. The encore sees Because Of The Times get an airing, starting with On Call and climaxing with Knocked Up and a stadium full of fireworks to startle the seagulls from repose. People have been leaving for 20 minutes already but the teenagers are still there of course, “rock and roll” sewn into their souls and they leave to heavy applause. A success certainly, but they were guaranteed that before they walked onto the stage and it would be good to see them work for it again.