Its a little under 12 months since Rival Sons have played the UK, Manchester in fact. Then, it was the Academy 3, and an 2012 the much bigger, plusher Ritz in Manchester (great venue)
I predicted great things for Rival Sons in 2012 as they were in my Top 10 live gigs and album choices of 2011. Bloody Hell, have they made the progression, with their latest album sitting right at the top of the Rock Charts, and now tonight, playing the bigger and almost full to capacity Ritz. I was almost worried that they wouldnt fill this place after such a short space of time, but their momentum has been building rapidly after their own tour, and supporting the likes of Black Stone Cherry and Download earlier this year
Singer Jay Buchannan thanked the audience as they never themselves expected to play a venue of this size. “We are a small club band”, but their success is extremely well deserved
Opening up to what seemed an intro of “interference” which played holy bollox with my tinnitus, they romped straight into “Pressure and Time”. Buchannan looks every inch the 60/70s rock icon, whippet thin, tanned, drainpipe trousers and the accessory of choice for the discerning muso….white winklepickers!
Couple this with the incendiary riffs of Scott Holliday (part Terry-Thomas/D’Artagnan/’V’) and the powerhouse rhythm section of Messers Everhart and Miley, it equals one ‘on fire’ display of a band in their utmost prime! Mike Miley proves from the off that small is bigger! With one of the smallest kits I’ve seen in a long time (well, since the last time I saw them!) Miley beats Holy Hell out of the thing. Other drummers take notice!!!
Rival Sons are on these shores to promote the most excellent “Head Down” with nine songs represented. They wear their Zeppelin-esque influence firmly on their sleeves, together with psychedelia and irresistible hooks, and the band’s soul, funk and blues influences is at the forefront of their performances.
A blast of Head Down followed with the excellent ‘Wild Animal, You Want To and Until The Sun Comes’ being offered up in quick succession. Two of my fave songs were to follow by any band, the psychadelic ‘Memphis Sun’, and the anthemic crowd pleaser ‘Burn Down Los Angeles’, before another blast of new stuff in ‘Keep On Swinging’, ‘Jordan’ and ‘All The Way’. For ‘Run From Revelation’ Buchannan mirrored the swagger of Jim Morrison, ditching the shoes, only with a much better voice than JM! He just cant keep still, like he has been possessed with the music, he dances and jerks constantly, a whirling dervish of a rock star.
Rival Sons were on stage for little over an hour, then returned to the adulation with Manifest Destiny 1 & 2, before the utterly mesmerising performance of Soul. Everhart and Holiday traded licks with Buchannan, before a vocal performance that just had to be seen (and heard) to believe. Even with the mic as far away as he could hold, his voice just soared around the Ritz. Not many peformances make break out in a huge smile (dont get me wrong, I enjoy all the gigs I attend), but this was special
Rival Sons star is definitely in the ascendancy and Im pleased I called it. These guys are going to be huge. If youre lucky, catch them tonight on the last leg of their UK tour in Wolverhampton
Pressure and Time
You Want To
Until the Sun Comes
Burn Down Los Angeles
Keep On Swinging
All the Way
Run From Revelation
Face of Light
Manifest Destiny, Part 1
Manifest Destiny, Part 2