Kings of Leon Were Bored as Hell on SNL

Admit it: Kings of Leon have gotten stuck in your craw for at least 30 seconds in their ascent to American rock deities or demons, depending on what side of the love/hate spectrum your tastes reside. "Use Somebody" is one of the biggest earworms of the past decade. "Sex On Fire" is a dive bar jukebox mainstay at this point. It's been a minute since KoL have changed the strings on their electric guitars and hit the road to preach the gospel of New Nashville (or their version of it), but with Mechanical Bull, their first record in three years and one that debuted at #1 in the UK and #2 in the US, you'd think the brooding, belting band of brothers (and cousin) would be ready to saddle up and buck up for an explosive volley of performances, SNL and otherwise, before they embark on a massive international tour in early 2014. You'd think they'd narrow their eyes and grit their teeth and inject the kind of intensity that made them famous, that made Caleb's screaming and straightforward tenor so endearing and addictive, into every single move they make as they get the music of Mechanical Bull out there. You'd think they'd show up to a late night television performance and prove to the world that they've still got the spark that "Use Somebody" fanned into an inferno.


See also: "OMG Her Face!": America Reacts to Haim's SNL Performance

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Was 2010 The Best Year For Music Ever? The Final Chapter: Katy Perry Is A Bad Feminist But We Are All Vulnerable Somehow

This has been Sound of the City's year-in-review rock-critic roundtable, an amiable ongoing conversation between five prominent Voice critics: Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Sean Fennessey, Maura Johnston, and Rich Juzwiak. We're sad to see it go.

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Sleigh Bells frontlady Alexis Krauss, you deserved your own Dr. Luke co-write this year. Photo by Rebecca Smeyne.
My friends.

What might I be sick of 12 months from now? Rich, are you teeing up that "I Hate Katy Perry" piece that Rob was agitating for a few days ago? Even if you're not, let me (briefly) take the bait. To me, the Christian singer-turned-Betty Boopster is a shining example of how pop feminism has pretty much failed -- her career arc since "I Kissed A Girl" first blessed my ears a mere 19 months ago reminds me more than anything of those sex bloggers who decide to settle down and blog about their husbands and/or their offspring, and who are adamantly "MY LIFE CHOICES ARE THE BEST LIFE CHOICES" about every decision they make. She's kissing girls... but waking up with a boyfriend in the video where she bleats about her exploits! She's subjecting her cleavage to meek little Elmo... then telling anyone who'll listen that her husband's last name will take the place of her own! She's singing an empowerment anthem about being a California gurl [sic, RIP Alex]... but the perpetually leering Snoop Dogg is the song's true star! I could go on.

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Live: Kings Of Leon Play "Use Somebody" And Some Other, Inferior Songs At Madison Square Garden

Kings of Leon
Madison Square Garden
Tuesday, November 16

Better Than: A Zac Brown Band concert, at the very least, you'd have to think.

To say that Kings of Leon's wild success -- here we are, at a packed MSG, not for the first time -- is somewhat mystifying is not an insult, necessarily: You can ask Why Them, but you can just as easily ask Why Not. We need arena rockers, after all, given that we've got all these arenas lying around. And out come KOL, in a bizarre plume of red smoke, to (bizarrely) the strains of the Police's "Invisible Sun," to fill this one. Launching into the bawdy, pleasingly graceless roadhouse stomp of "Mary," they are bathed in the light of a disco ball and projected on three video screens in Classic Americana black and white, as though trying to embody as many parts of U2's persona -- the Rattle & Hum authenticity, the cheeky Pop hedonism -- as possible. They don't offer anything you can't leave behind, it's true, but it's also true that no one here is leaving.

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Kings Of Leon And Rammstein (!), Coming Soon (Separately, Alas) To A Madison Square Garden Near You

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Fresh from being chased off the stage by voluminously defecating birds at an outdoor amphitheater in St. Louis this summer, the Kings of Leon are fleeing indoors this fall to Madison Square Garden, a very large and conveniently covered building they have conquered before. Also coming to MSG: the porn-addled German gentlemen responsible for this thing.

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Perhaps You'd Like to Watch of a Video of "Rihanna" Riding a Mechanical Bull While Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" Blares Over the Speakers?

OK, so that almost certainly is not Rihanna, though the location does in fact seem to be New York's own Johnny Utah's, and you can't even actually watch the video here because whatever Celebuzz is, they don't believe in embeds, but whatever, what if it were true? One commenter claims this video is authentic because the woman in question has "Rihanna's BIG FLOPPY FEET." On the other hand, she's not blonde, and Rihanna was in Miami last week and in Japan this week, so--old? Fake? Hilarious? Definitely hilarious. [h/t trusted news source Idolator]

News Roundup: Kings of Leon, Built to Spill, Wordless Music Series, Yellow Submarine Illustrator

 --Kings of Leon have announced a 30-plus date fall victory-lap supporting last year's Only By The Night. The tour includes a September 12 stop at the Izod Center in East Rutheford, New Jersey. Meanwhile, Only By The Night has been certified platinum by the RIAA, with more than a million copies been shipped to the record stores that still exist.

--After a thrilling noise-filled set at Siren, Built to Spill will return to New York October 12th and 13th at Webster Hall and October 14th and 15th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets are on sale now. The band's currently mixing their new album, There is No Enemy.

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Live: Kings of Leon Do MSG, to Their/Our Amazement

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Awwwww cute. Pic by Rob Trucks, more after the jump.

Kings of Leon
Madison Square Garden
Thursday, January 29

Here we have one of those Holy Shit We're Playing Madison Square Garden shows, always a charming event -- what little banter KOL frontman Caleb Followill offers is of the "This is one of the biggest, best moments of my life right here" variety. We are sincerely thanked for "Getting on your little websites and spreading the word" (no problem, dogg); most notably, there's the declaration that "We have the best fans in the world -- one of the last true fanbases, I think." Whoa now. Let's not get carried away.

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