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Back in their early days, Kings of Leon became an arena-filling headlining act based on mostly non-distinct Southern blues-rock. KOL were selling millions of albums while folks of similar stylistic inclinations - like, for example, the far superior Drive By Truckers - stayed in medium-sized halls, which remains one of life's cruel mysteries.
But what do I know? Kings of Leon are indeed a huge deal and will perform Friday in the Mohegan Sun Arena. They're touring behind the "Mechanical Bull" album, their first in three years after a long hiatus owing in part to problems frequently inherent in the ol' rock 'n' roll biz. (Make the drinky-drinky motion and you'll get the idea.)
But the break seems to have helped. "Mechanical Bull" is a bit of a departure for the Kings, featuring U2-style anthems and several tunes that seem designed to appeal to a poppier demographic - and, yes, it's their best album.
Oh, and the band also hits a lyrical high point on "Comeback Story." In it, vocalist Caleb Followill sings, "I walk a mile in your shoes / Now I'm a mile away / And I've got your shoes."
Bonus time: the seriously great guitarist Gary Clark, Jr., opens the show.
- RICK KOSTER
Kings of Leon, 8 p.m. Saturday, Mohegan Sun Arena; with Gary Clark, Jr.; $56 and $76; 1-888-664-3426, mohegansun.com.