They may subscribe to a hard-partying rock'n'roll lifestyle, but Kings of Leon are really a bunch of softies.
That was apparent Saturday night at Chicago's House of Blues, where the Tennessee foursome strutted and howled their way through a sold-out benefit show for the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital. In addition to the roughly 1,000 fans who shelled out $150 for a ticket, the band was happy to entertain some of the hospital's young patients, too.
"We met some really beautiful kids today," frontman Caleb Followill said onstage. "It's a wonderful world we live in."
Sentiment aside, the Kings delivered one hell of a raucous set. Now finally experiencing the recognition stateside that they've enjoyed in Europe and Australia, the Followills are coming into their own as one of America's best live rock bands. They proved it with spot-on renditions of Only by the Night's "Sex on Fire," which saw fans pump their fists in unison with the rhythm, and power ballad "Fans," off 2007's Because of the Times.
The foursome drew on their entire catalog during the 90-minute set. "Trani," a standout from 2003's breakout Youth and Young Manhood, received the same whoops of approval from the sweaty crowd as their current single, the anthemic "Use Somebody."
As an encore, the boys led spirited sing-alongs on three fan favorites from 2007's Because of the Times: the rocking "Charmer," "Knocked Up," and "Black Thumbnail."
The night was was a high-energy crush of music -- but no one lost sight of the evening's driving cause. From the silent auction of sports and music memorabilia to benefit the hospital, to the gold ribbons the band wore to support cancer research, there was plenty to applaud.
"Tonight isn't about us and it isn't about you," Caleb reminded the audience during the encore. "This is one of the finest things we've done as a band, and we're glad you could all be here with us."