Kings of Leon hit Mohegan Sun

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.

Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon performs at last year's Global Citizen Festival in Central Park in New York City.
Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon performs at last year's Global Citizen Festival in Central Park in New York City.

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