ATLANTIC CITY — Kings of Leon has two different types of fans.
There are the ones who got on board early — the ones who saw them open for Pearl Jam, for Bob Dylan and U2 — and knew they were in on something potentially amazing.
Then there are the college-age twentysomethings who came a little late to the party, after the band's breakout 2008 album, "Only by the Night," started getting major radio airplay. The ones who like to use lyrics from "Sex on Fire" as their Facebook status because, you know, that's totally how they feel right now.
And as Kings of Leon kicked off their summer tour Saturday night at the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, both types of fans were there, getting the type of live rock show they were already expecting — a really, really good one.
The band, made up of brothers Caleb, Jared and Nathan Followill and cousin Matthew Followill, has come far in the past year and a half. Their songs "Use Somebody" and "Sex on Fire" are everywhere. But Kings of Leon is not a new band, and the singles off "Only by the Night" are not the first to get radio love. The group has been huge in Britain and Europe for years. "Only by the Night" just marks the first time the American rock scene has started paying attention - and it's about time.
Lead singer and guitarist Caleb Followill, not usually one to talk to the crowd a lot, offered up his appreciation to the fans who came to help kick off the tour. Saturday marked the groups' first show after a lengthy break, and while the Kings seemed more on top of their game than ever, Caleb felt the need to explain himself.
"We've decided we're not going to stop playing shows now," Followill said, "because it's too hard to remember the (expletive) songs."
Rock 'n' roll.
Perhaps it's the humble attitude that makes Kings of Leon so refreshing. If they've bought into all the media hype — that they're the next Coldplay or even the next U2 — then they certainly don't act like they do. What you see is what you get — four guys from Nashville, Tenn., who like to play music. These guys just happen to rock the house while doing it.
As far as opening acts go, The Whigs — who are touring with Kings of Leon for only a few select shows — are about as good as they come. Their pared-down, drums-and-guitar style, similar to the White Stripes but meatier, is a throwback to everything that is good about classic rock.
Like Kings of Leon, the band kept the banter to a minimum, with Whigs frontman Parker Gispert stopping only briefly to crack a joke.
"So how many of you guys here are here to see Sum 41?" Gispert asked, referring to a band popular early in the previous decade for its sometimes-annoying teen angst rock.
The boos and laughter from the crowd pretty much answered that question.