Cigarette Butts & Broken Glass … A Live Music Experience

By Nathan Hritz


I recently had the privilege of attending a Kings of Leon concert at the KeyBank Pavilion just outside of Pittsburgh. The event itself was a special night for a variety of reasons. I have been a Kings of Leon fan for years now, but more importantly it was the last time I would be seeing my sister for a while as she was moving into her respective college within a few days of the concert — a bittersweet night to say the least.

We were greeted at the event by an ocean of drunken concert goers, apparently more interested in the drinking than the music. Cans and bottles of mediocre beers littered the ground with an occasional can of Yuengling Lager here and there. This all leads into the point I want to make with my column this week.

Concerts are a magical thing, they really are. It is not just the music, or the social drinking, the overpriced snacks, or even the frisking at the front entrance. I truly believe that the mixture of all these things really makes going to concerts a beautiful thing. Otherwise, why would people go to them?

Okay, back to the music. The opening act was Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and in all honesty, if you were to ask me to recommend a live act to see before you kick the bucket, I would highly suggest seeing them. They were absolutely fantastic. The energy that Nathaniel Rateliff and his backing brought to the stage was astounding. They went above and beyond what I would expect of any opening act.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats set a higher bar for Kings of Leon to meet than they did in getting the crowd amped up with enough energy to “appreciate” Kings of Leon appropriately. I use the word “appreciate” liberally. At any rate, the opening act somehow managed to accomplish both.

Now onto the main act, Kings of Leon. I have not followed them extensively over the past few years. “Mechanical Bull” was the last KOL album that I truly enjoyed from start to finish. Of course, they were fantastic. It was almost humorous as they began the intro to “Use Somebody,” a tidal wave of shrill screams came up out of the ocean of concert goers as if on cue.

To be honest, I would have paid the money just to see the opening act. If I am being really honest, I would venture to say that the opening act was a better listening and a better viewing experience than Kings of Leon themselves.

It is important now more than ever that we gather together in these crazy times regardless of race, color, or creed just to remember that we are all human. Music is an excellent catalyst for this, a universal language. It makes my heart happy to see that we as Americans, and more importantly as humans, have not lost sight of this.

With that being said, in the famed words of Garth Algar: Party on.