The Nashville-based Kings of Leon found widespread popularity with their sophomore release, Aha Shake Heartbreak, and they haven't looked back since. The Grammy-winning band is comprised of brothers Nathan, Caleb and Jared, and their cousin Matthew, and they all share the last name Followill. Initially characterized as Southern Strokes, the band's music is a blend of garage and Southern rock, but its penchant for experimentation has created a unique sound.
The Followill brothers are no strangers to being onstage. As kids, they traveled around the country with their evangelist father, Leon, appearing at born-again churches and revivals all across America. Their parents divorced in 1997, and the brothers relocated to Nashville, where they rediscovered the rock (music) and, with the help of cousin Matthew, formed Kings of Leon. The band signed to RCA a few years later, and the rest is history.
Indie-rock mainstays Built to Spill will support Kings of Leon. Although Built to Spill released several albums, beginning in 1993, they didn't really gain widespread prominence until the rise of indie rock in the early 2000s. Many established bands cite Built to Spill as an influence, including Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie and the Strokes. I saw them a few years ago and had a great time -- with a sound that evokes Neil Young's grungier work, Built to Spill should complement Kings of Leon's aesthetic.
Go seem them July 9 at Cricket Wireless. You won't regret it.
T. Loper is a writer for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.