I’ve been really fortunate to see lots of amazing gigs in London, including a few last minute secret sets over the years, but it was the four Followills that I was always longing to see in any venue that wasn’t of vast arena size. The first time I missed them play somewhere small was in 2004 when they played Liverpool students union – thanks to freshers flu (in my 3rd year) I was too ill to go. After that I mostly saw them play festival headline sets or arenas, their Brixton Academy gig back in 2008 being the smallest up until 2013 when I got to see them play at Shepherds Bush Empire and then the Roundhouse in the space of two months, both were AMAZING and I didn’t really expect it to get better than that…but then last Tuesday happened…
As everyone probably already knows Kings of Leon have a new album out – WALLS (We Are Like Love Songs) – and after some social media teasing at the start of last week about their arrival in London they announced a secret gig on Tuesday morning that was to take place that evening, cue panic stations and several frantic texting! Costing just £20 and taking place at 229 The Venue (a teeny-tiny 600 capacity student union) on Great Portland St. it was first come first served to get your mitts on one of the shiny pink wristbands that would guarantee entry. I genuinely don’t think I’ve been so excited queuing for a gig as I was that night!
The Setlist: Thanks to @KOLfanblog on Twitter! (‘Arizona’ was also added in the encore).
I thought it might just be a chance for them to play the whole of WALLS, which would’ve been good but what an unbelievable set it was! from the opening chords of ‘The Bucket’ I knew it was going to be a special night, it was so awesome to hear them do ‘Trani’ live after all this time and from WALLS ‘Over’ and ‘Around The World’ were two of my faves. That 1 hour and 50 minutes at 229 club was the perfect reminder that despite their huge success Kings of Leon are still the Southern rockers I fell in love with 13 years ago, and it was really lovely to see them clearly enjoying playing in such a small venue.
As well as going to a lot of amazing gigs over the last few years I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some of my favourite bands, Kings of Leon have always remained elusive though…to be fair I’ve never tried too hard (HONEST) and the closest I got was seeing one of them (might have been Jared) through a car window outside The Roundhouse after the iTunes festival. So when I knew the Kings were doing Radio 1 Live Lounge the day after the gig and I conveniently didn’t need to be elsewhere I decided to stroll past on the off chance of seeing them. Ok, it was less of a casual stroll, more of a dash to Maida Vale where as I turned the corner I spotted the big red truck – the same one that had been parked outside the venue the night before – and a handful of other KOL die-hards outside the studio door. It was now or never, after about 40 minutes of waiting for their crew to load the truck the studio door opened…and there they were…the one band that I’ve always wanted to meet but were terrified to just in case they turned out to be dickheads, were they? NO. Was I shaking? YES. I managed to compose myself enough to have a little chat about the gig and ask each of them for a photo, they all took time to say hello to everyone and sign things. I’ve always had a soft spot for Matthew so was super smitten meeting him but was probably most nervous talking to Caleb, HE’S TOO COOL and has no idea how many times I’ve cried during their gigs listening to his voice and lyrics…probably for the best.
Sometimes you just have to be a fangirl