Showtime!: Kings of Leon/BRMC/The Features @ Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale
First of all, I hate when they don’t allow cameras at a show. I don’t know whether it was in one of these bands’ riders or it’s a standing rule at Revolution, but I never saw what sense it made.
Hence, no photos from this show.
The good news is that this show — which was outside, while Thursday’s show was indoors — was blessed by some of the best weather South Florida’s had in months. And that made it easier to endure a three-band bill.
Now, these were three bands I happen to like, but I don’t care if R.E.M. shows up with Radiohead and Guster, I’m going to be suffering if it’s in a club. I’m not exactly a kid.
That said, I can’t say there was necessarily a bad moment during the show. Headliner Kings of Leon — and there was more than a little shock among the group I went with that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was opening for the Kings — showed they earned that status by getting the crowd whipped into a frenzy with a good mix of songs from their three albums.
However, this is what I was expecting:
Long hair, right? (note Caleb Followill, the band’s lead singer, second from right)
This is what I saw:
They still sounded as if they had the long hair associated with their modern-but-Southern sound. Most of the songs had quick tempos — and boom, mosh pit! — but still had Caleb’s growly twang, unmistakably Southern.
The Followills — brothers Caleb, Jared (bass) and Nathan (drums), and cousin Matthew (guitar) — are as tight as a duck’s ass, though Caleb clearly wasn’t happy with something on stage: “Are you guys havin’ fun tonight? (cheer!!) Well, I’m not! But I am getting drunk, so that’s something!”
If drink fueled the Kings’ performance, antipathy seemed to do the same for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It appeared the three men in the band — guitarist Peter Hayes, bassist Robert Levon Been and drummer Nick Jago — had little interest in talking with one another, focusing instead on delivering a blistering set.
Most of the set came from the band’s latest album, Baby 81, generally considered the least of BRMC’s four LPs. But its original-BRMC-sound-meets-Love-and-Rockets vibe did seem to work well for the most part. I thought “666 Conducer” was a high point of the show — but I also rather enjoyed hearing “Ain’t No Easy Way Out”, their only nod to Howl, their shocking (and, in my opinion, very successful) shift into an Americana band. I only wish they would’ve broken out “Shuffle Your Feet”, but I gather they’re trying to move away from that sound, as Jago, who didn’t play on the Howl sessions, has a fuller role in BRMC again.
It was very exciting for me to see The Features, a band from Tennessee that I figured I might not get the chance to see. Despite having one of the best albums from 2004, Exhibit A, Universal Music dropped the band.
But the band persevered, even when their original keyboardist left. They picked up a new keyboardist — and considering the huge role keyboard instruments play in The Features’ sound, it was a big-time move — released the Contrast EP on their own dime and starting to build their audience on the road.
The Features’ set was all too brief, hitting high points from both discs. Not everyone gets into lead singer Matt Pelham’s quavering vocal, but I think it works with their songs full of what feels like nervous energy. (Plus Matt seems like a hell of a nice guy, as I chatted with him afterwards while buying a T-shirt.)
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