How would you like to be King for a Day? Lightning 100 is partnering with Live Nation to give one lucky listener the royal experience at Kings of Leon show at Bridgestone Arena on February 7th. Submit a photo of yourself dressed as a “King” for the chance to win two tickets to the show, limo ride from Grand Avenue, and dinner before the show! All photos should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bonus points if you post the photo on Facebook and tag Lightning 100 and #kingforaday.
Kings of Leon are back again with a new single, “Super Soaker,” off their upcoming LP, Mechanical Bull. After a brief hiatus, these local boys will release their sixth album September 24, 2013. Kings of Leon will kick off this fall with a brief European tour and already have some fall festivals on their schedule.
When Kings of Leon released their third album Because Of The Times in April 2007, Entertainment Weekly called it their “crowning achievement,” while Rolling Stone wondered: “How good can the Kings of Leon get? They’ve already gone further than anybody could have guessed.”
Coming as it did on the heels of 2003’s rowdy Youth and Young Manhood and 2005’s brawny Aha Shake Heartbreak, the expansiveBecause of The Times was indeed a pivotal and game-changing album. It led the Followills — Tennessee-bred Caleb, Nathan, and Jared, and their cousin Matthew — to astonishing success around the world. In the U.S., the band has sold out New York City’s fabled Radio City Music Hall and The Greek Theatre in Hollywood. In the U.K., Kings of Leon headlined this summer’s legendary Glastonbury Festival, as well as the Oxygen Festival in Ireland, and sold out their upcoming December show at London’s 20,000-seat 02 Arena (where Led Zeppelin held its reunion concert) in less than an hour.
But if critics thought that Because of The Times was the work of a band “at the peak of its powers” (as the Los Angeles Times put it), they may want to reconsider that assessment after hearing Kings of Leon’s new album Only By The Night, due from RCA Records on September 23rd. Only By The Night picks up where Because of The Times left off, continuing Kings of Leon’s shape-shifting evolution and cementing their status as a world-class rock band.
“After three records and touring for five years straight, we knew what we were capable of,” says the band’s drummer Nathan, “we just had to put our money where our mouths were. We had to take it to the next level. You always want your next record to be better than your last.” Adds frontman and lyricist Caleb: “There’s never a time that we’ll make a record and won’t attempt to do something better than what came before.”
With its stunning melodies, ringing guitars, and razor-sharp grooves, Only By The Night delivers on the promise Kings of Leon have shown throughout their career. From the desolate atmospherics of the opening track “Closer” (which Caleb says is about a lovesick vampire) to the emotional intensity of the closing ballad “Cold Desert” (“about a man at the end of his rope who picks himself back up”), Only By The Night is all heart from start to finish.
Album highlights include the insistently chugging first single “Sex on Fire” (“there’s always been an element of sex in our music, so I thought I’d just wrap it all up in one song and be done with the sex for the rest of the record,” Caleb jokes), the throbbing, propulsive “Crawl” (about relationships of all kinds and taking them for granted), and the sonically sweeping “Use Somebody,” which Caleb wrote while feeling lonely on the road. “It’s about being far from home.” Then there’s the soaring uplift of “Manhattan,” which is partly about dancing and enjoying life and partly about the struggles of Native Americans. “’Manhattan’ is actually a Native American word that means ‘island of many hills,’” says Caleb, who adds that his family has Native American blood. Finally there’s the driving, forceful “Notion,” which finds the singer pushing back against anyone who says anything against anyone in his band.
Caleb’s instinct for insularity is not surprising given that the band is made up of family members. The familial vibe extended to the recording process when Kings of Leon returned to Nashville’s Blackbird Studio in April 2008 with their long-time producer Angelo Petraglia and Nashville-based producer/engineer Jacquire King, who also mixed Aha Shake Heartbreak. “Angelo keeps it fun and youthful,” Nathan says. “He and Jacquire were cool enough to tell us when we really needed to stop playing Wall Ball and get serious, rather than being stern and scaring the shit out of us. It kind of took the pressure off.”
Petraglia and King also encouraged the experimental process the Followills first engaged in when making Because Of The Times, giving the band the freedom to explore all of their ideas. “We had the opportunity to really get in there and be more hands-on as far as the production goes,” Caleb says. “We wanted to prove ourselves a bit more. We got to kick our heels up, have drinks, and relax while recording.” Adds Nathan: “You can tell from the music that we’re definitely comfortable.”
“To me it sounds like the Kings of Leon are back not only as a band, but as friends,” Caleb says. “Every night after recording we’d go to a bar together, hang out and talk about what we were going to do the next day, rather than all of us going to our separate homes. It was really a big family vibe. That’s where the title comes from. It’s also a reference to a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, and it has five syllables, like all of our album titles.”
Caleb had written most of the lyrics and melodies for Only By The Night during some downtime at home recovering from shoulder surgery. “I think the pain pills inspired him a little more than he realized,” Nathan says with a laugh. “He would play us a song and we’d say, ‘When did you write that?’ and he’d say, ‘I don’t really remember writing it. I just woke up with an empty bottle of wine and my songbook open and these words written down.’” Says Caleb: “Those pills can make you feel so nice. I think a lot of the pretty melodies came from that and from me just opening more.”
Another influence could be their experiences playing arenas, not only in support of Because Of The Times, but while opening for U2 in 2005 and Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam in 2006 and 2008. “We definitely wanted the songs to sound good in a 15,000-seat venue, but we also wanted them to have the kind of intimacy that would get the point across at a club show for 300 kids,” Nathan says.
Overall, the Followills knew it was time to be honest about their ambitions and prove what they could really do. Caleb, for one, unleashes some of the most righteous, anguished singing he’s ever recorded. “I knew it was a risk for me to go in there and really open up and belt the way that I know that I can; the way that I used to when I was younger,” he says. “I just hid my singing for so long because I was nervous that people would listen to my lyrics, assume I wasn’t intelligent because I’m from Tennessee, and pick me apart, so that’s why I sang the way I did. But going into this, I knew these melodies that we were playing were too beautiful for me to fuck it up. I had to go for it.”
“Basically we got the point where we realized that we can be known as a band that hit it hard for three records and disappeared, or be a band that was smart enough to realize that not very many bands get to make four records, so let’s make the most of this,” Nathan says. “Because honestly, we were horrible housepainters and that’s what we’d be doing if we weren’t doing this!”
The Hangout Music Fest is proud to announce its highly anticipated 2013 lineup. Scheduled for May 17, 18 and 19, 2013, on the sugar-white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, the festival will feature headliners Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kings of Leon, Trey Anastasio Band, The Shins, BASSNECTAR, Kendrick Lamar, The Black Crowes, Slightly Stoopid, The Roots, Ellie Goulding, Steve Aoki, Passion Pit, Bloc Party, Gov’t Mule, Jim James Band, Porter Robinson, Public Enemy, moe., Galactic, Dirty Projectors, Grouplove, Toots and the Maytals, Lissie, The Breeders, Best Coast, Jason Isbell & 400 Unit, Twin Sister, Ryan Bingham, The Sheepdogs, Shovels and Rope, Moon Taxi, The Revivalists, Zion I, Lance Herbstrong, Anders Osborne, Twenty Ι One Ι Pilots, Delta Rae, Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers, The Bright Light Social Hour, The Werks, The Ton Tons, Brassft Punk, Kingston Springs, The Mowgli’s, Chancellor Warhol, Luella and the Sun, The Weeks, Space Capone, Wild Cub, Colin Lake and many more
General Admission tickets, plus VIP, Super VIP and Big Kahuna festival passes, will go on sale beginning on Friday, February 15 at 11:00 AM ET at www.hangoutmusicfest.com/tickets. Fans should act quickly, as the festival is expected to sell out of all tickets at all price levels. Daily tickets will not be available, and tickets will not be available at the door. The limited number of “Early Bird” tickets and passes sold out within five minutes of going on sale in December, and last year’s Fest sold out of all general admission tickets in less than two weeks after going on sale.
Lightning 100 has been to every Hangout Music Festival! Check out our coverage over the years.
Are you going to make the trek to California to the 2011 Cochella Music Festival? We’ve listed out all of the artists performing and highlighted the ones you’ve heard on Lightning 100 or Grimey’s Indie Underground Hour. The fest takes place 4/15-4/17. Three-day weekend passes cost $269 (+$3 charity +$9 facility fee +service fees) and go on sale 10AM this Friday at coachella.com.
!!!, 12th Planet, Afrojack, Alf Alpha, Andy C, Angus and Julia Stone, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, A-Trak, Axwell, Beardyman, Best Coast, Big Audio Dynamite, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77, Bomba Estereo, Boys Noize, Brandon Flowers, Brandt Brauer Frick, Breakage, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Cage the Elephant, Caifanes, Caspa, Cee Lo Green, Chromeo, Chuckie, City and Colour, Clare Maguire, Cold Cave, Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles, CSS, Cults, Cut Copy, Daedelus, Death From Above 1979, Delorean, Delta Sprirt, DJ Hype, DJ Kentaro, DJ Marky, DJ Zinc, Duck Sauce, Duran Duran, EE, Elbow, Electric Touch, Eliza Doolittle, Ellie Goulding, Emicida, Empire of the Sun, Erick Morillo, Erykah Badu, Excision, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Fedde Le Grand, Fistful of Mercy, Flogging Molly, Foals, Foster the People, Francis and the Lights, Freelance Whales, fun., G.Q., Gayngs, Glasser, Gogol Bordello, Good Old War, Gord Downie, Goth Trad, Green Velvet, Gypsy and the Cat, HEALTH, Here We Go Magic, High Contrast, Hurts, Interpol, Jack Beats, Jack’s Mannequin, Jakes, Jenny and Johnny, Jimmy Eat World, Joachim Garraud, Joy Orbison, Kanye West, Kele, Kings of Leon, Klaxons, Kode9, Kyle Hall, Laidback Luke, Leftfield, Lightning Bolt, Lil’ B, Lorn, Los Bunkers, Magnetic Man, , Mariachi El Bronx, Marina and the Diamonds, Mary Anne Hobbs, MEN, Menomena, Monarchy, Mount Kimbie, Moving Units, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mumford & Sons, Nas & Damian Marley, Neon Trees, New Pants, Nosaj Thing, OFF!, OFWGKTA, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, One Day as a Lion, Ozomatli, Paul van Dyk, Phantogram, Phosphorescent, PJ Harvey, Plan B, Ramadanman, Raphael Saadiq, Ras G, Ratatat, Riva Starr, Robyn, Roska, Rye Rye, Sander Kleinenberg, Sasha, SBTRKT, Scala & Kolacny Bros., Scissor Sisters, She Wants Revenge, Shpongle, Skrillex, Sleigh Bells, Steve Angello, Sven Vath, Take, Tame Impala, Terror Danjah, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, The Aquabats, The Black Keys, The Chemical Brothers, The Drums, The Felice Brothers, The Henry Clay People, The Joy Formidable, The Kills, The London Suede, The Love Language, The Morning Benders, The National, The New Pornographers, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Presets, The Radio Dept., The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Strokes, The Swell Season, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Twelves, Thunderball, Tinie Tempah, Titus Andronicus, Tokimonsta, Trampled by Turtles, Trentemoller, Twin Shadow, Two Door Cinema Club, Warpaint, Wire, Wiz Khalifa, Yacht, Yelle and Zed Bias.