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Review: Kings of Leon, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Jonathan Geddes's verdict: Three stars

When watching Kings of Leon perform it's hard to believe that this was a group rumoured to be beset by internal strife in recent years.

Their Hydro performance was as slick and polished a rock show as you can get, although whether that's a positive or a negative is another matter entirely.

The foursome certainly had their moments. So used are they to large venues that the sound was consistently impressive, save the odd muffle with Caleb Followil's raspy voice early on, and that ensured their more powerful tunes were rousing, from the opening Charmer's unsettling bass heavy vibe to the peppy guitar pop of The Bucket.

Last year's Mechanical Bull album has also let the group re-discover at least some of their swagger, with Don't Matter a charging garage rocker and Family Tree boosted by sleazy bass from Jared Followill.

If the band are at heart rock conservatives, cherry-picking the past, then those tracks were thankfully wedded to ebullience, much like their best early material - the aggressive Four Kicks and the decadent aura of Red Morning Light.

Yet they are conformist in other ways, too. Each track was performed near identical to record, every movement and gesture came by rote.

It ensured a lack of spontaneity, which wasn't helped by the band's selection of mid-tempo rockers that were dipped into, including a double-header of the sluggish Beautiful War and a version of Cold Desert that sounded like Purple Rain with the air let out.

It all built to sing-a-long crowd pleasers like Use Somebody, though underneath the lusty sing-a-longs there remained a nagging feeling that rock music shouldn't feel quite so regimented as this.

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