From what can only be described as white noise in the background, hissing and crackling, the stage is dark, on walks four figures, the band prepare themselves, Lead singer Jay Buchanan utters two words, “All right”, drummer Mikey Miley counts the band in using his sticks, and with a rip-roaring first song “Pressure and Time”, Rival Sons hit the stage running, as if this huge amount of energy had been building up since the previous gig, and let loose at once at that moment in time.
This was the theme throughout the whole evening. Lots of energy, lots of spirit and a huge amount of soul and blues fuelled rock & roll.
Rival Sons continue with a string of new material from their recently released “Head Down” album. By the time the third song, and one of many highlights of the evening, “You Want To” begins, Jay has slipped off his shoes, now barefoot, making himself at home, and so he should, given he does have some Scottish heritage. Jay has everyone in the room mesmerised by his soulful soaring vocals and movement all over the stage, Mikey pounds his skins like a demon possessed and provides the backbone rhythms with the funk and groove of bass player Robin Everhart layered with wonderful guitar sounds coming from one of the coolest guitarists on the planet at the moment, Scott Holiday, wearing a suit with colourful stripy trousers, round, dark shades, scarf and a peaked hat. It all seemed so effortless, with the band sounding so tight nothing could go wrong, and thankfully nothing did!
The tempo was lowered ever so slightly for the classic “Memphis Sun” but then picked up again for “Burn Down Los Angeles” and “Head Down” opening track “Keep On Swinging”, which had the crowd whipped up and grooving along. The tempo lowered again for the most intimate and heartfelt moment of the night for “Jordan”, in which Jay introduced by saying “This song goes out to someone very special to me, I know you can see me, I know you can hear me”. Simply stunning, and if it wasn’t for the band playing, I’m sure you could have heard a pin drop!
Rival Sons switched from the Intimacy of “Jordan” to having a bit of fun and much crowd participation for another song off of the new album, “All the Way”. Jay has the Glasgow crowd clapping and chanting along with the chorus, with Robin’s bass and Mikey’s drums providing the mood and groove for this one, definitely another highlight from the night, and one I was very much looking forward to hearing.
By now the crowd were fully pumped up, which led to a couple of older songs being played, including one of my favourites live, “Torture”, and ending the set with the mellow “Face of Light” from their previous album release “Pressure & Time”.
There was a short break, which had the crowd chanting “Rival Sons”, before the band, minus Jay, returned for the encore with Scott Holiday standing there, arms folded, smiling behind his dark shades. The band let rip into the epic track off of new album “Head Down”, “Manifest Destiny Pt.1”. Jay returns briefly to sing his part, showing off his higher ranges brilliantly, before leaving for a few minutes to allow Scott to take centre stage and perform, to me, some of his best guitar playing to date including one damn fine solo that even Hendrix himself would have be proud of! Jay returns to finish his vocals and “Manifest Destiny Pt.2” kicks in.
The last song of the night, “Soul”, is exactly what it says. Jay’s vocals and performance of this song is just simply breathtaking. It has a a slow blues groove, replete with Jay’s soulful crooning and swagger and some amazing riffs by Scott. Towards the end of this song, Jay and Scott trade-off each other with Jay showing off his lower register, nearly breaking to a baritone, it was a magical and fitting way to end the night.
At the end, the band all move to the front of the stage, huddle and bow to the now screaming and cheering Glasgow crowd, with the band saying it was the very first time they had ever done that! Huge smiles were seen on their faces, and huge smiles could be seen all around the venue. I will agree with what I overheard a few people saying, and one new fan who said to me personally, “tonight was probably the best gig I have ever seen”.
If you have never done so before, I would recommend you check out Rival Sons live, these guys are the real deal.
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 Pt.1
Manifest Destiny Pt.2
Review and picture by Robbie Rooney