Gig review: RIVAL SONS – O2 Academy, Leeds, 28 March 2015

RIVAL SONS - O2 Academy, Leeds, 28 March 2015

Barely four months ago we were in Manchester witnessing an amazing gig from Rival Sons as they set out on a mini tour for the release of their new album ‘The Great Western Valkyrie’, the tour itself had to be cut short due to unspecified health issues with vocalist Jay Buchanan but the show at the Ritz was a mind blowing experience.

Here we are again a few dates into the latest tour which takes in the UK, Europe and then back to the States in June, they are definitely riding the crest of a wave at present and don’t look like wiping out at all; in fact a lot of the UK shows have near sold out way before the tour.

With a sound akin to Zeppelin and The Doors they draw fans from all ages into shows for a trip through psychedelia to hard riffing rock and divine acoustic pieces and all with a relative ease and grooviness that seems to come so natural for them.

London Souls - O2 Academy, Leeds, 28 March 2015

Up first tonight is also a band that oozes style, The London Souls originally a three-piece but now a two-piece are Tash Neal (vocals/Guitar) and Chris St Hilaire (drums/vocals).

To say they are jumping on the bandwagon of the two-piece bands would be a total injustice to these guys, they bring a complete sound that is reminiscent of 70′s blues psychedelic rock.  With the launch of their new album due anytime now I envisage a return tour in the near future.

Rival Sons - O2 Academy, Leeds, 28 March 2015

Rival Sons take to the stage cheered on by the ram packed crowd, I have seen them many times over the years and even now there is still that anticipation as they break into the first track, this time it’s ‘Electric Man’ with its huge riff and thunderous bass drum, sound fills the room and there is no hint of any issues with Jay as he powers into the wailing lyrics in the distinctive style which he hasn’t changed in all the times we’ve seen him and this linked with his almost trance like stage demeanor gives the whole show that psychedelic feel.

Rival Sons - O2 Academy, Leeds, 28 March 2015

The setlist tonight is almost the entire new album bar two tracks which definitely went down well with me as I’d rather hear the album tracks than go to a hits-only gig.

‘Manifest Destiny Pt1′ from Head Down is also a favourite, as the melody meanders through the track it gives the space for Scott to wring out an amazing solo out of his Gibson Firebird, the addition of Todd on keys certainly complements the music and makes for a fuller and interesting combination and enhances the 70′s rock feel of the band.

Rival Sons - O2 Academy, Leeds, 28 March 2015

Mid set we get an acoustic session that kicks off with the haunting ‘Nava’ before they do a great cover of the CCR classic ‘Long As I Can See The Light’. The main set ends with ‘Tell Me Something’ from their first album ‘Before The Fire’ which now goes for £100′s if you can get a copy. Encore time and Mikey Miley gets a chance to bang out a great solo before the powerful ‘Pressure And Time’ fills the room.

While Rival Sons have changed their image over the years from the more bohemian look of the early days to sharper edged designer style they have today the music they produce still encompasses the similar 60/70′s psychedelic rock sound and they are definitely putting the riffs and energy back into music.

Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley


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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

COLLATERAL Mr Big Shot (Roulette Media Records)
BABY HUSBAND Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (indie)
OF ALLIES Off The Map (indie)
EXPLORING BIRDSONG The River (indie)
MARISA AND THE MOTHS – Slave (indie)
CATTLE AND CANE I Wish I Knew Jesus (Like I Do)
KING VOODOO Creep (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Big Blue World (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REDLINE Gods & Monsters (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 WILDWOOD KIN (Silvertone/Sony)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)



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