Six years after their inception, Kings of Leon remain one helluva Bible-clutching story: shaggy sons (and nephew) of a Pentecostal preacher, rocking and rolling 'tween sin and salvation, unloading spooky guitar drama about hard nights and redemptive mornings.
After the release of 2008 album Only by the Night, with its sweat-covered tales of Sex on Fire and Use Somebody, KOL's bio grew even wilder: The Nashville, Tenn., outfit was being heralded by critics as the best rock band in the world, heir apparent to U2 and Green Day.
That's astounding considering there's nothing cuddly or easy about them: Off-center frontman Caleb Followill sings as if balancing on the rail of a 10th floor balcony, while his fam, especially lead guitarist cousin Matthew Followill, rages forth behind him, firing shots of rural violence that ebb and flow as the night wears on.
The quartet is absolutely captivating, sometimes ugly, sometimes lovely. And in this day of easy-bake bands fitting safe molds, the Kings of Leon, who may or may not make their daddy proud, are without peer.
Kings of Leon perform at 8 p.m. Friday at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $35-$43. (813) 974-3002.
Sean Daly, Times pop music critic