After Kings of Leon experienced a meteoric rise from its roots in U.S. indie rock and mid-level venues into international stardom and stadium tours, the family band appears to be facing turbulence.
Initial problems surfaced late last week when Kings of Leon, comprised of the three Followill brothers and their cousin, ran into trouble only a few dates into their summer 2011 tour. All remaining U.S. tour dates were ultimately cancelled in an August 1 announcement.
Only three dates into KOL’s summer venture, a July 29 show at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas was cut short after lead singer Caleb Followill repeatedly complained about the heat and eventually walked off stage. A next-night show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands (near Houston) was subsequently cancelled.
Coming off the turbulent weekend, the band issued an early statement that the Dallas and Houston-area concerts would be rescheduled for September 21 and 22, respectively. However, a second, more troubling announcement followed on August 1 and stated that the band was cancelling its U.S. tour plans.
About two dozen U.S. events were affected in the cut. Kings of Leon would have been on the road through a September 12 performance at KeyArena in Seattle, WA. Instead, the band will not perform again until its fall 2011 tour of Canada later this year.
The Kings of Leon official Web site published the following statement on August 1 regarding the cancellations:
We are so sorry to say Kings of Leon are canceling their entire US tour due to Caleb Followill suffering from vocal issues and exhaustion. The band is devastated, but in order to give their fans the shows they deserve, they need to take this break. Unfortunately, the US dates cannot be rescheduled due to the band’s international tour schedule. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase. Tickets purchased online or via phones will be automatically refunded. The band will resume touring in Canada at the Rogers Center in Vancouver, BC, on September 28th. That show was originally schedule for September 14th.
While the exact extent of Followill’s health complaints and treatment were not disclosed, the band’s members have been much more vocal — talking about their disappointment and hinting that Caleb’s health issues go beyond exhaustion. After the Texas concert debacles, bassist Jared Followill took to his Twitter account to apologize to fans for disappointing them and to call out his older brother’s on-stage antics in Dallas.
“Dallas, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am. There are internal sicknesses & problems that have needed to be addressed. No words,” Jared Followill wrote on July 30. “I love our fans so much. I know you guys aren’t stupid. I can’t lie. There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade.”
The oldest of the three brothers, Nathan Followill apologized to fans on Twitter, as well.
“So sorry Dallas, your heat got the best of a few of us. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience of all this bullshit. We’ll be back soon,” Nathan wrote, later adding, “Not so good morning 4 me today. Ashamed & embarrassed by last nights fiasco. Can’t apologize enough, utterly gutted. A million I’m sorry’s. [sic]”
Kings of Leon released its first album, “Youth and Young Manhood,” in 2003, but it wasn’t until the 2008 release of “Only by the Night” and its following promotional tours that the band really broke through.
Tickets to the fall 2008 tour of mid-sized venues sold so well that KOL upgraded its spring 2009 tour to larger arenas and event centers. The band remained in similarly large venues for its lengthy summer 2009 and summer 2010 tours in the United States, as well as its overseas ventures each year.
Brothers Jared and Nathan Followill, as well as cousin Matthew Followill, have openly addressed fan concerns and stated that the band is not breaking up. However, whether Kings of Leon and its frontman are able to overcome their troubles and resume touring as early as September remains to be seen.