When the well known BBC Radio2 music presenter Bob Harris introduces your band on stage and the legendary Jimmy Page is spotted in the audience, you know you’ve arrived. On Monday night Rival Sons owned the Electric Ballroom, Camden, London and possibly the UK! With the opening chords of ‘Keep On Swinging’ they couldn’t put a foot wrong even if they tried. The appreciative audience lapped it all up and why not? Following the recent release of their critically acclaimed album ‘Head Down’, Rival Sons have turned into one of the hottest rock bands on the planet.
Jay Buchanan dressed in tight leopard skin jeans and white pointed shoes, sharp enough to pick your teeth, looked and sounded every bit the part of the quintessential rock shaman ala Jim Morrison/Robert Plant. With his extensive vocal range Jay can sing, croon and holler with best of them. In Mike Miley (drummer) and Robin Everhart (bass) the engine room of the band sounded tighter then ever. Miley, after joining the warm up band on stage during their last song, looked slightly amused by all the fuss around him. However, with ‘Wild Animal’ the second song of their set he really started rocking the house with his heavy drumming.
The oh-so-cool Scott Holiday (guitar) cemented the sound of Rival Sons with his inspiring guitar playing. We’ve heard comparisons to Led Zeppelin and Free, but the sound is definitely fresh and innovative with the roots firmly in the blues. No question, the man certainly knows the neck of his Gibson Firebird.
The band played their way through a set of sixteen songs that can only be described as awe-inspiring. Ending the set with heavy blues stomper ‘Pressure and Time’ they had the audience begging for more. Rarely have we witnessed original ‘70s rock delivered with such intensity. The energy, raw power and soul of the band shone through and had the audience rocking and nodding in appreciation. They came back for a three song encore which included the epic ‘Manifest Destiny' parts 1 and 2. It’s fair to say at this stage we experienced something spectacular. All they need to do now is to go out and conquer the world. Judging by their performance on Monday night they might just do that!
Words and photos by Stephen Fourie