Concert Review: Kings of Leon Bring "Mechanical Bull" Tour To New England

 (Dan Winters/RCA Records)

(Dan Winters/RCA Records)

Kings of Leon's "Mechanical Bull" Tour brought classic rock-and-roll sound with a 21st century twist to the Xfinity Center in Mansfield.  The show featured two openers, The Kongos and Young the Giant, both of which added to the raw-yet-trippy atmosphere.

The stage setup for Young The Giant was simple: a black backdrop with a large, arterial-looking face sketch.  The tour manager filled in for the lead guitarist, who recently broke his arm skateboarding.  Nevertheless, the band broke right into it.  Highlights included the killer synth sound in "It's About Time", a subtle entry into "Apartment", and their hit single "Cough Syrup".

Finally it was time for the main event: Kings of Leon.  The band walked on in darkness, signaled by a guitar twang and a giant, neon "Mechanical Bull" sign.  The show began with the hit "Supersoaker".  The performance was as much a light show as it was a music show; a huge L.E.D. screen showed everything from psychedelic splashing paint to retro beach footage.  Kings of Leon are textbook rock-and-roll, but that doesn't limit the band's imagination.  Unexpected creativity came in the form of a guitar played by blowing on the strings and even a glockenspiel solo, of all things.  Highlights of the Kings of Leon set included the distant, underwater-sounding "Closer", a crowd-stirring performance of "Notion", and the Mansfield-exclusive cover of "Where is my Mind" by the Pixies.

If you aren't sure how you feel about Kings of Leon, you need to see them live.  Words simply won't do this concert justice; The Mechanical Bull Tour just needs to be experienced.