Kings of Leon mark their return to the North American arena circuit for the first time in more than two years with their 2014 Mechanical Bull Tour, featuring the added bonus of up-and-coming blues whiz Gary Clark, Jr. in the opening slot. The trek is named for the southern rockers’ new album, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart after its release in September 2013.
A family affair, Kings of Leon is frontman Caleb Followill, his older brother Nathan on drums, little brother Jared on bass, and their first cousin Michael Followill on guitar. The band formed after Michael and Jared moved to Nashville around the turn of the century, and by 2002 the record labels were taking notice of the two older siblings. While their eventual label RCA Records wanted to recruit other musicians to play with Caleb and Nathan, the brothers insisted that Michael and Jared round out their band.
The band emerged with their first EP, Holy Roller Novocaine, and album, Youth & Young Manhood, in 2003, and both were noted for their retro, psychedelic take on raw southern rock. The band had a retro look to match, and European audiences were fast to adopt the scruffy, long-haired group. By the time the band’s second album, 2004’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, was released overseas, the band were a bona fide sensation in Europe. The album’s sound was also a breakthrough in the US, where it hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.
With the release of Kings of Leon’s fourth album, 2008’s Only By the Night, the Followills solidified their standing as stars in their home country. The album went Platinum in the US and featured their biggest hit, “Sex on Fire.”
The foursome stayed busy in 2013 selling many tickets to an extensive overseas tour, releasing a new album, and appearing at North American festivals.