YouTube Live: Kings of Leon are a real "Charmer" at Lollapalooza '07

on January 11, 2011, 11:15am

How do I put this nicely as a devoted Kings of Leon fan? Let’s just say that they’re much different from Arcade Fire while onstage. (You know, the band that runs around banging drums, dancing, yelling into megaphones, clapping, etc.) Alright, alright. I’ll just say it. Kings of Leon don’t do much onstage. They get up there and do their job. They play nearly flawlessly from start to end. However, as far as stage presence goes, they seem to do the bare minimum. Apart from bassist Jared Followill’s array of interesting facial expressions, not much about the band changes visually during the set. I don’t see this as a complaint on my part, though. The pleasure they bring my ears live is more than enough to make up for the less than exciting stage presence. Still, I enjoy the hell out of watching them when they finally do cut loose.

On their 2007 album, Because of the Times, there is a song that I believe does, in fact, make Caleb Followill cut loose at the microphone. The album’s second track, “Charmer”, seems to cast a spell on the band. It’s a nervous, mysterious song about a girl who seems entrenched in Followill’s every thought, and that’s not a good thing. The song and its chorus begin with a raw, visceral scream that Caleb Followill nails every time, making me feel deep sympathy for his throat. He continues on singing, “She’s such a charmer, oh no… She’s always looking at me.”  What captivates me is that when performing this song, it’s as if Followill is looking around him to make sure that this woman isn’t actually there. It’s like he is being hunted down. As the gut-wrenching screaming continues, he approaches the lyric, “Married to the preacher, oh no. She’s always looking at me,” giving us more insight into why this woman needs to remain far, far away. To me, this song could be the perfect plot for a movie, right? Caleb Followill would easily snag the lead role.

I used to be obsessed with Kings of Leon. I endlessly searched YouTube for live performances and soon realized the band’s pattern of being stiff onstage. That is why this song really stands out. It is the one performance that really varies from that statuesque demeanor. Followill unleashes some kind of demon into the microphone when he sings this song. It sounds over the top, I know, but you have to see it to understand. This video is from Lollapalooza 2007 when they performed on day three. It may be short, but boy is it sweet salty.

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