Rockers Kings of Leon stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to perform two tracks off their latest LP, Mechanical Bull. Even though they didn’t shut down Hollywood Boulevard to play the show, as our new cover subject Paul McCartney recently did, they delivered rousing renditions of “Supersoaker” and “Temple”
The band showed restraint at the start of “Temple,” as frontman Caleb Followill pushes his bandmates and brothers to stay at just the right threshold, adding in a melody here and a drum showcase there, before they all push themselves just a little further for the chorus. By the time they reach the bridge, Followill leans back and howls, “I just want to be noticed.” The audience cheers accordingly.
The “Supersoaker” clip begins with Followill strumming a ragged rhythm until the rest of the band kicks in with a lush backdrop of thumping bass, post-disco cymbal work and xylophones. In the hands of Kings of Leon, though, that oblique collage of styles adds up to one of the standout southern-tinged alt-rockers on the album. Followill sings with passion, pushing his voice until it sizzles on lines like “You’ve got a story you never tell.” The song ends how all good Kings of Leon songs end, as a beat-kicking rave-up.
The group’s performances is a hint of what fans can expect from from the rockers’ appearance at the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas tomorrow and on the 2014 Mechanical Bull Tour that Kings of Leon announced yesterday. For a band that’s battling back from a recent meltdown, they’re playing as though they didn’t miss a beat.