This is the weirdest venue. I’m not sure I can explain why. So, bullet points!
-It is behind the largest high school I have ever encountered. Also a hospital. Aren’t hospitals supposed to be quiet zones?
-From the gates to the lawn, I walked about a third of a mile. It was eerily silent the whole way.
-There are lots of black people. That might not sound like a thing, but trust me. I never see black people at shows.
-It’s small, but way undersold. How undersold? There was a lady at a table selling upgrades to the seats for $10.
-They sold me a bottle of wine. A whole bottle. Poured into a guitar shaped decanter. They did not put a wristband on me.
Also, there’s music!
The Whigs are better than they were the last time I saw them. A summer with the Kings has done them wonders. They’re much tighter, faster. It’s high energy enough to really rile the crowd up the way an opener should. The one song that could have been a little jammy, the moody “Dying”, was instead dark and a little evil, but not at all out of place.
The Black Keys are always bluesier than I expect. I don’t know why I can’t adjust my expectations. They have these moments of almost Amy Winehouseian bluesiness, and then these dirty southern rock riffs jammed between. It’s good, and more than seeing just two guys on a huge stage really prepares you for.
The Black Keys
are much more popular than I thought. Also, peeing during this set might not have been the best call, as I returned during “Your Touch” and the aisles were full of drunk girls dancing. Some guys keep yelling, “Why aren’t you the headliner?” They continue screaming for the Keys long into the Kings’ set.
The epic black and white cinematography on the screens for Kings of Leon is a lot heavier on the jump cuts and the 1990s wacky zooms than last time. I would still buy it. Kings of Leon management, are you listening? I would pay cash money for a dvd of the show I’m seeing now. They play a new song that must be the doo-wop number reporters keep talking about. It is still so heavy, with Nathan’s drums and Matt’s overbearing guitars, that it comes off like Zeppelin plays “It’s My Party.” I love it.
Caleb is feeling a little hoarse, so he calls for Nacho and a shot of whiskey. I need someone who will bring booze when I wave my arm.
Woah. The audience lost it for “Revelry.” I’m gonna assume this is a Southern thing. Also, I never noticed before that the ooohs in that song are just Nathan.
They went just as crazy for “Closer,” so maybe the crowd just needed some time to warm up.
The next new song is a little quieter. It begins with Caleb and Matt on their guitars, and ramps up to Nate using, like, fifteen drums. While looking bored, because he’s a professional. Also, Jared has a xylophone solo.
They end the main set with “Trani,” which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them play before. It’s a little long and noodly, but it has a killer huge crazy finish. It does seem a little bit like they’re intentionally testing the patience of people who are just staying for “Use Somebody,” a theory that seems borne out when they begin the encore with “Knocked Up.” Those are the two most endurance-based songs in their catalog. Then everyone’s patience is rewarded by a huge crowd singing “Use Somebody.”
But a note. The last song of the evening used strobe lighting, which made it hard to judge distances as I walked through the beer can littered field. I have to imagine that for a typically hammered KOL concertgoer, that would be dangerous as hell. Though, I saw a bunch of people dancing in circles and falling over anyway, so it’s probably a moot point.