Key Points:

Kings of Leon once toured churches with their preacher parents but it was hard to reconcile their earnest backgrounds with the sexy guitars, whisky-cracked vocals and raw adrenaline that coursed through Vector on Saturday night.

"She looks so cool in her new Camaro," sang Caleb Followill as pretty girls were hoisted onto boyfriends' shoulders, and Auckland enjoyed a little 1970s-style Southern comfort.

This was KOL's last gig on a world tour for their No1 third album Because of the Times, their first headlining set following memorable appearances at the Big Day Out.

They left the evangelising to the music with just a sparse black backdrop and simple lighting to enhance their set, drummer Nathan Followill blowing bubbles from behind his kit, guitarist Matthew Followill sucking from a ciggy tucked into his top fret; between songs Caleb thanked "y'all" for coming.

The band had admirable chemistry, a tightly coiled rattlesnake that whipped and reared through Black Thumbnail, King of the Rodeo and a gritty, distorted rendition of My Party. They also touched on previous albums Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak.

Although they stayed largely faithful to the recordings, the rhythm section added a dirtier, heavier element than on the albums.

But as fiery and thrilling as those big songs were, it was hard to shake the feeling the boys weren't a little tired of the road. Their tour finale was as swiftly executed, aloof and professional as a businessman making his last transaction.

It wasn't until crowd pleasers On Call and The Bucket that the band truly seemed to enjoy themselves.

Even on the slower songs - usually the death knell at any concert - KOL kept up the momentum, Milk allowing them to connect with a crowd they'd so far been pummelling with rhythms and Jared Followill's monstrous bass riffs.

Given their hefty repertoire, it came as a rude surprise the bulk of the gig was over within an hour; Charmer and Knocked Up didn't emerge until the encore, perhaps unfairly considering people had paid to hear songs from Because of the Times.

And despite the epic nature of those tracks and the size of the room they were playing, there was still room for more. It was royally good, but not quite the religious experience it could have been.

Who: Kings of Leon
Where: Vector Arena
Reviewer: Rebecca Barry