12 November 2008

Kings of Leon

So I realize that the episode of SNL that aired last Saturday was a few months old, but it was new to me. That being said, I was fairly excited when I heard that Kings of Leon were performing as the live musical guest on the show. I've heard a few of their songs on the radio and generally like their sound.

While watching them perform I wasn't blown away by their sound but it was good. What was terribly disappointing was their look. The picture to the right doesn't do justice to their look on SNL, but it was as if each member of the band was a terrible parody of what they considered to be rock. The lead singer had some ridiculous wide suspenders, the bassist had an awful Elvis-type hair, the drummer had long hair a la Dave Grohl circa 1992, and the lead guitarist had a leather jacket under which he was flashing some stunning white chest. I cannot imagine being able to watch a live show of KoL and not feel a sense of lacking.

That being said, there are plenty of bands that I enjoy that I would rather have not seen them in person. My primary example is Jimmy Eat World. There's little that is visually appealing about that band, but they make such catchy music that I can't let them go.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are artists whose looks perfectly fit their sound. Both Sufjan Stevens and Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) look exactly like I had imagined they would.

I realized immediately after writing the above paragraph that it's quite possible that I saw pictures of the artists before I had imagined their appearance so my judgment would be faulty. In order to be more honest, I conjured mental images of the looks of three bands: The Airborne Toxic Event, Ra Ra Riot, and Vampire Weekend to see if their images match their sounds. The verdict: they do, especially The Airborne Toxic Event.

On a different note, I would highly recommend all three of these bands.


Anonymous said...

I cannot get enough of KoL. I fell in love with them after hearing their second album and have loved them since.

I actually like their look, but its probably because it's most fitting to their personal histories: they are 3 brothers and a fist cousin from Tennessee, from a very conservative family (the father of the 3 brothers was a traveling Pentecostal preacher and most of their childhood, I think, was spent roaming the countryside attending gospel revivals of some sort). I feel like their look is reminiscent of some kind of old-time, Appalachian fashions (mixed with attempts at being urban/hipster). And I hear a lot of that in their music.

Maybe it's just me?

Ian said...

I'm glad you like them! Like I said, I enjoy their sound and I like hearing them on the radio, but I don't think I can be a big fan because of the way they look (really, I'm very very musically shallow). I sure wish I'd known their story before seeing them. I might have been a bit more forgiving.

Jason said...

yeah, i really hated KoL on SNL too. primarily, i think, b/c i saw them a number of years back, right after their 1st album (i win jennie), when they actually looked like they should and made decent music. the songs they played on SNL made me want to vomit (not to mention the lead singer's mullet-turned-on-its-axis-160-degrees)

Anonymous said...

Jason, don't be a hater. I love their most recent album, but I unashamedly like pop alternative which admittedly KoL is leaning towards now. So get hydrated, JBall, because you're going to be hearing more of them if I can help it.

All that being said, I'll admit that their look is odd and maybe doesn't work in a way that we'd like to expect from a rock group. I don't know much about fashion (as I'm reminded every day in NY), but I like odd-looking things that are almost on the verge of the grotesque. I think they are much more interesting than things that are beautifully conceived. That's another conversation, though, isn't it? Sorry.

All this to say: POO on you both (that's right, I said it). I'm going to relish every moment of their concert in January. I will not succumb to your cultural imperialism.

Ian said...

I wasn't really turned off by their fashion sense, but more by my feeling that they were dressed like a group of friends who decided to go to a Halloween party dressed like a rock band. But you go and enjoy them as much as you want Jennie.
You won't catch me hating on what you like. Me, I can't stop listening to Lil Wayne even though I feel a little bit of musical goodness slipping out of my brain each time a hear his smug little giggle between phrases. You may hate on me all you want.