Music review: Kings of Leon, Hydro, Glasgow

They may have had their ups and downs, but Kings of Leon now appear more at ease with themselves than ever, writes Jay Richardson

Kings Of Leon PIC: Matthew Followill
Kings Of Leon PIC: Matthew Followill

Kings of Leon, Hydro, Glasgow ****

In a performance indicative of their 20-plus years career, Kings of Leon delivered a show of studied maturity at the Hydro. Resurrecting a little of their early Southern swagger with old cuts like the enjoyably yowling King of the Rodeo and slow-burning Taper Jean Girl, yet tightly and purposefully powering through more intimate tracks from their most recent record, last year's When You See Yourself, the band have essentially come to embody finely-tuned arena rock.

Hip-propelling tune Fans acknowledges the UK following that embraced Kings of Leon long before their US homeland, but it was telling to see the former gospel adherents-turned-volatile hellraisers stop and restart two songs because of crowd trouble, with frontman Caleb Followill disappointedly admonishing the ejected parties like the father-of-two he is. More than ever, the extended balladry of Knocked Up resonates like a paean to grimly determined parenthood, its defiance laid atop shuffling drums and an hypnotic bassline.

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    Of the newer songs, opener The Bandit has a familiar plangency but is undeniably dramatic. Echoing is another softer, sentimental throwback to the back catalogue, while Time in Disguise may be lyrically mawkish, even stodgy, but Matthew Followill's reverberating guitar riff affords it an elemental charm. Closing out the two-hour set, the big hits were reliably super-charged in the main, a full-hearted Use Somebody fully justifying the eruption of mass karaoke it provoked and a timelessly intense The Bucket rocking hard. Even a slightly raced-through, perfunctory Sex on Fire to climax, featuring Caleb hollering gamely through the swooping chorus, seemed a fair compromise for a band that have had ups and downs but now appear more at ease with themselves than ever.