America’s answer to Peace, or Swim Deep – especially with the bassist being Cavan McCarthy’s doppelgänger – took to the stage.
At first, the ricocheted sound overpowered the singer’s soft vocals. The performance started off weak for the five piece – incorporating two indie dreamboats; two members that seemed past their time, and a dude in a cowboy-hat that seemed to be having all the fun.
“…It’s a big big room…” pointed out Jack Tatum – Wild Nothing’s founding member, and vocalist. But as he grew in confidence, a Alex Turner-esque showmanship was brought forward.
Nocturnal, Disappear Always, and Only Heather brought the performance to new levels; and showcased the strength of their newer material.
By the sixth song in their set, the band were gelled together; upping their performance, and overall forming a stronger, more confident, sound.
A mellow, relaxed vibe filled the arena, and the band and crowd were submerged in smoke.
Finally, the support slot ended on a more electronic track; with elements that paid homage to The 1975.
Kings Of Leon
It is no doubt a risk playing your biggest hit mid-set; but it was one Kings of Leon were not afraid to take.
KOL offered a bit of everything; playing an array of songs from their back catalogue. With three main hits under their belts – Sex on Fire, Use Somebody, and Radioactive – it was a challenge for the southern rockers to keep the tempo up.
Stepping away from their authenticity, and into the limelight; the four family members took to the stage in suits. Lights, a camera crew; visuals, and confetti featured throughout the night. It was almost like being in the audience for a TV show. Fans were even ushered to turn the flashes off their smartphones, as it would interfere with the modern art piece about to unfold.
This offered a sense of disconnection; it was clear that the bodies on stage had the authority. Yet, the fourth wall was occasionally cut by a flung guitar pick or two.
Credit has to be giving to the acoustic section of the night; the curtain was drawn down, hiding the band’s elaborate setup. Caleb took to the mic, situated himself closer to the front of the stage; and sang The Runner – a sentimental track from their 2007 release, under a singular spotlight. Later joined by fellow band members to perform Comeback Story, and WALLS in a stripped-back manner. It was a moment of beauty.
This was the point where what the band were trying to showcase actually came through. Their skills and success shined throughout the second half of the set; the acoustic element juxtaposed against the full show highlighted that this band was simply trying to capture how far they have come.
With many hidden gems in their discography; overshadowed by their commercially successful hits, it is near-impossible to formulate a setlist that would please all. Although, it felt like the party was just starting as the night ended; and that the £60+ per audience member was spent on stage production, instead of the connection many gig-goers crave.