Rival Sons are Earache‘s golden boys. Right now they can do no wrong, and the sell out crowd at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms is a real testament to that. Tonight, they have wrung every last drop of emotion from the Nottingham throng, delivering a simply superb set. Rocking, raucous and drenched with soul, these four L.A. musos are simply on fire.
Credit where credit’s due and tonight’s support acts of Pint Size Hero and Ulysses really do a fine job. Pint Size Hero having an extremely difficult task with such an early start, but offering listenable and quirky tunes, they definitely attract more than just a passing interest of those milling around the bar. Ulysses on the other hand really turn things up a notch. Totally rocking the polyester trousers, and forcing the 70’s style back into Nottingham Rescue Rooms, their set is really a corker. Catchy, riff-laden and fun. Spot on and exactly what you want just before The Sons take the stage, definitely ones to watch for the future.
But tonight it is all about four L.A. retro rockers: Michael Miley, Robin Everhart, Scott Holiday and Jay Buchanan, together they really one of the finest live acts of the moment. Miley is one of the most entertaining drummers around, a closet frontman, his antics throughout entertain, whilst he controls the organic Rival Sons rhythm. Everhart’s basslines punctuate and flow constantly, his timing is impeccable and even the ad hoc jams are fluid and funky. It’s not often you see, or rather hear humour injected into a set with the odd note here and there, but when you have Everhart taking control of the low end anything is possible.
Scott Holiday is mesmerising, his fretwork is constantly evolving, the tracks from Pressure & Time allow him to take a full raucous rock approach, whereas Head Down tracks ooze soul. Every part the guitar wielding rockstar; trademark shades and snappy suit, not to mention a collection of historic guitars that would cause many a collector to weep. He milks the crowd and his instruments, throwing shapes and poses aplenty, belting out huge riffs and feeding off his frontman, and the sell out audience front and centre.
Each member has their own traits and part to play within the band, but tonight it’s front man Jay Buchanan that steals the plaudits. Boy can this guy sing. His vocals ricochet through the venue, showing Buchanan to be the perfect lead, channelling Jim Morrison, out soaring Robert Plant and dishing out enough swagger to leave Mick Jagger dumbstruck, he really is pure presence. He’s got soul and emotion in spades. “Pressure & Time”, “Wild Animal”, “Keep On Swinging”, and particular favourite “Burn Down Los Angeles” are roof raisers. “Jordan” is a truly lump in the throat moment of track, and “All The Way” is perfectly executed, pure cheek and glint in his eye.
Tonight is a masterclass. Rival Sons are nigh on perfection; soul, rock, jazz all packaged up in a raw retro rock outfit. If you ever get the chance to catch these guys live, you really should. Absolutely brilliant.
Rival Sons setlist: Pressure and Time, Wild Animal, You Want To, Until the Sun Comes, Memphis Sun, Burn Down Los Angeles, Keep On Swinging, Jordan, All the Way, Gypsy Heart, Run From Revelation, Torture, Face of Light, Manifest Destiny, Part 1 & 2, Soul
Photos courtesy of Danny ‘Sambuca’ Ackerley