Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Kings of Leon to rock Slane's 30th birthday bash

Kings of Leon have topped the album chart with Come Around Sundown
Kings Of Leon
LONDON - FEBRUARY 18: Jared, Matthew, Caleb and Nathan Followill from The Kings of Leon pose backstage after winning the Best International Group and International Album at the Brit Awards 2009 at Earls Court on February 18, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

It's music to the ears of all Kings of Leon fans. The American chart-toppers have confirmed that they will be rocking music lovers at Slane Castle.

After months of speculation about which headline act will take to the stage at Henry Mountcharles' famous Meath venue, the Sex On Fire stars have finally signed on the dotted line for an Irish concert.

The award-winning foursome will be headlining at the castle on May 28 as part of the venue's 30th anniversary celebrations.

Lord Henry Mountcharles said yesterday he decided Kings of Leon were the band for him while watching their performance at the Oxegen festival in 2009. "They absolutely blew me away -- there and then I knew they were the act for Slane," he said.

He added he had also taken note of a huge campaign on the social network site Facebook to get the southern rockers to play the historic venue.

"Of course I was aware of the campaign," he said. "It's hard to ignore the wishes of 12,000 people. This is a very hot act, but it's a hot act in the tradition of Slane. Because it's the 30th anniversary, I wanted to find the perfect fit. Some people expected me to go for a legendary act, but that just seemed a little too obvious for me. I wanted to come slightly out of left field," he said.

Lord Mountcharles revealed how next year's concert comes just five days after his 60th birthday. "The 30th anniversary is a big deal for me. I wanted it to be special. Slane has been central to my life, but has also been central to the musical journey of so many people. There is a lot of pressure to get it right," he said.

His highlights over the past three decades include: Thin Lizzy, who opened Slane in 1981; U2 recording 'The Unforgettable Fire' at the castle; and the Guns N' Roses concert in 1992. "Springsteen was extraordinary too, and the U2 shows were very emotional for me. Robbie Williams was at his height of his powers when he played Slane -- --all of these gigs were so diverse and so fantastic. I always try to give the best, so people can walk away thinking they just experienced a magic gig. I do feel it very personally," he added.

The Meath venue was heavily criticised in 2009 over a number of transport issues which plagued the Oasis concert. Lord Mountcharles has made assurances that these issues have all been resolved. "We have new transport facilities with faster turnaround. We have put in more toilets and widened the entrances and increased the size of the location too. We have a proud tradition at Slane and I am happy everything has now been addressed," he said.

"This is going to be one of the biggest gigs of the summer," said an insider. "Not only have they a huge following in Ireland, it's also going to be a milestone anniversary for Slane Castle.

"Given the huge names that have performed there over the past three decades, who knows who could join them on the stage as part of the celebrations? It's going to be a real show stopper."

Some of the biggest names in the music business have performed at the Meath estate, and all, including Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger, are invited back for the birthday celebration.

The first staged a concert there in August 1981, headlined by Thin Lizzy and with an appearance from a very young U2.

The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, David Bowie, Neil Young and REM have all played there over the years, as has Madonna, Oasis, Robbie Williams and the Red Hot Chill Peppers.

Now it's the turn of Nashville-based brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill alongside their cousin Cameron to make a little bit of music history with their headline performance.

The band has a huge following in Ireland, given that they headlined at Oxegen music festival in 2008 and 2009.

They are currently in the middle of a sell-out tour around Europe and America following the release of their fifth album, Come Around Sundown, which is their third consecutive release to debut at number one in the charts here.

The band announces a string of major outdoor gigs for the UK as well, including a return to London's Hyde Park on June 22, which will mark their biggest ever concert in Britain.

They will also perform in Coventry on May 30; Sunderland on June 17; Manchester on June 19; and Edinburgh on June 26. Tickets for their Irish concert will go on sale on Friday November 5 at 8am priced €79 including booking fee.

Lord Henry Mountcharles on Kings of Leon

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