During what turned out to be the last song of the night, a woman in the suite next to ours asked if we had any beer. We didn’t. Her boyfriend assured me they would play an encore. They didn’t.
The band’s frontman — one of the Hallowells? — told us three times while I was in attendance (and I showed up 30 minutes into the set) that the band was having as much fun as we were having. They weren’t.
It was a free ticket, so no one here is complaining. But holy moly, if there’s a band that hates its job more than the Kings of Leon, I sure as hell hope they take up welding or something.
I saw the Kings in Detroit 14 years ago. They opened for the Strokes, who were touring in support of their second album.
The Strokes and White Stripes split open my eardrums when I heard them circa 2002, and I bonded over those sounds — one bouncy and ironic, the other grounded and desperate — with a guy from the Detroit suburbs I worked with at a resort in Nisswa.
His being from Detroit fascinated me; it was all so gritty and dirty and bluesy and White Stripesy. He marveled at the upkeep of our freeways. He knew black people. He took us to a club where a woman sang gospel music and we drank beer for $2.
He invited me to Detroit to see the Strokes show. He showed me the city, and it all seemed true. The roads were shitty. The streets seemed abandoned. He didn’t have to pay to park downtown. It was a concrete jungle, but with a pair of Converse sneakers and a bit of courage, a guy could navigate it like Jack did.
I absorbed the lesson; I don’t pay to park downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul after 6 p.m. I’m no sucker. My legs still work. I’ve got a pair of (knockoff Converse sneakers).
The Kings of Leon were billed at the time, at least by my sources, as the “southern Strokes.” (My sources may have entirely been the guy I knew from the resort. Everyone else I knew listened to Pearl Jam or country music. I was deeply into the Smashing Pumpkins.) I remember hearing songs in Detroit that lived up to that billing. I heard a song tonight that involved talk of the lead singer’s dick.
Suffice it to say this isn’t my kinda band. So I went tonight mostly looking for a good show, and I didn’t get one. Looking around, no one else appeared to be getting one either. A guy in the suite next to me (and this was before the couple asked me for beer) dozed off for a minute or two.
Take the money you spent on the Kings of Leon ticket, friends, and buy a Phosphorescent album, or just open up a Pandora tab, type in “Fleetwood Mac”, invite over all your friends and see what happens. I’m available to be the guy who doesn’t shave and acts like he loves everyone but deep down thinks you’re all suckers. And I work for free, as long as there’s beer.