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Kings of Leon at Mohegan Sun

Published 2:47 pm, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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  • Kings of Leon will perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night, Feb. 15. Photo: Contributed Photo / Connecticut Post Contributed
    Kings of Leon will perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night, Feb. 15. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville. Saturday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m. $56-$76. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.
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After a decade of working constantly and rising from a band playing nightclubs to one filling arenas, it all caught up to Kings of Leon, from intraband tensions to living out of a suitcase for months at a time to partaking of the rock lifestyle.

Finally, the group -- brothers Caleb (vocals-guitar), Nathan (drums) and Jared Followill (bass) and cousin Matthew Followill (guitar) -- decided at the end of 2011 to take a break from each other and from the music world. To hear them speak of the hiatus, it was just what they needed to recharge their batteries.

"It was interesting," Caleb said in a recent teleconference. "At first it felt very strange, because I didn't really understand exactly what was going on. And so I kind of took my head out of everything. I didn't watch television, I didn't get on the Internet or anything. I wanted to just completely separate myself from whatever it was that was being said.

"And in the process, I started living. Me and my wife just started enjoying life, and we would just walk around New York and go on adventures and discover new places and it was great. And in the process, I felt like I gained a lot of culture and I read a lot of books and just did things that I hadn't done in a long time because I had been working so hard. It was inspiring to me."

Kings of Leon released three well-received albums before their career took off with the multiplatinum success of 2008's "Only By the Night." Buoyed buy the hit singles "Sex on Fire," "Use Somebody" and "Revelry," the album sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. and "Use Somebody" won Grammy Awards in 2010 as song of the year, best rock song and best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal. "Sex on Fire" also won a Grammy in the latter category the previous year.

The follow-up record, "Come Around Sundown," was greeted with mixed reviews and didn't fare nearly as well commercially, selling roughly a third as many copies as its predecessor.

With their hiatus over, Kings of Leon released their new record, "Mechanical Bull," in September to generally positive press, and are back on the road, with a stop planned for Saturday night, Feb. 15, at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

"I think every album is a fresh start," Nathan said. "The critics and your fans and everyone compares everything that you've ever done, and it usually ends up people saying that the early work was the best work. So you try to go in there and change their minds and do something special.

"And so it's always a fresh start. Every time we start to write a new song, it's us trying to do something that's going to make us feel good and we're going to try to do something that we've never done before. So that's a fresh start and every tour is a fresh start.

"And, obviously, on the heels of our last American tour there were a lot of people questioning what our next move was going to be. And I think we're all just real excited for the future."

The immediate future consists of a lot of touring, especially in the U.S., where there last tour ended abruptly -- and badly -- in July 2011. The Followills promise that these shows will be bigger than any they have done in the past.

"We've already been rehearsing longer than we've ever rehearsed for a tour," Matthew said. "Mainly because we don't really know what to do because we have so many songs and we want to try and please everyone. So it's definitely really tough now. We're either going to have to kick songs out that we've had in the set forever or just play for three hours."

Matthew said he's "really, really excited to see how the new songs go over.

"We're planning a bigger show, so its going to be really fun to see what America's got for us. ... I'm looking forward to playing a couple of (new songs) we haven't played yet (in concert)."

Caleb thinks the break was not only good for the band, but also the fans.

"I think it's going to be a lot of fun," he said of the tour. "I think it's the first time in a while that our fans have had a breather from us because we've always been known for kind of working nonstop. And I think the fact that we've been away, I think people are really excited. And I know we're excited and we're going to try to bring something special to the table."

sspillane@ctpost.com; 203-330-6355

Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville. Saturday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m. $56-$76. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.