Rival Sons at the Scala, London

At which point does a person have to put their hand up and say, “OK I am a fan”? I have seen the Rivals 3 times, each closely timed to the release of a new album; all of which still get regular listens among my, generally, eclectic collection of iTunes and Spotify playlists.

Do I qualify as a fan? Despite having no band posters, without keeping ticket stubs and most definitely not owning a band T-Shirt? I don’t own any band T-Shirts for that matter; which is probably quite unusual for someone who listens to so much; yet understands so little about music.

OK – So here it is… I think I might be a fan of the Rival Sons… There, I said it!

The location for last nights gig was the Scala, near Kings Cross in London. A small, fun and very sweaty venue with sadly, somewhat average acoustics. Luckily, no one cares. At first glance the very British crowd seems restrained as Jay Buchanan et al open up with “Electric man”. He gives it his all with plenty of stage presence and the addition of a little ‘James Brown’ theatrics; throwing himself to the floor. The band rattle through 45 minutes of mostly new album tracks, for me, “Good Things” and “Open my eyes” are the standout tracks from, “Great western Valkyrie” which went on general release in the UK on the day of the gig, 9th June 2014.

The new album is an interesting mix of distorted, sometimes self-indulgent fuzzy guitar, It has a real ‘American frontier’ feel, a sense of blues in a Wild west context… If that makes any sense at all? (I did mention above I love, not necessarily understand music) Their live performance echoes this feeling and the crowd spend more time swaying than jumping as we progress through the evening’s entertainment, a definite departure from earlier gigs and albums.

A four song encore starts with, ‘Manifest Destiny’, flies into ‘Pressure and Time’ & ‘Keep on Swinging’, getting everyone finally jumping, before (and ignoring the drum solo) finishing with a somewhat jammed out version of, “Face of light”. One of my absolute favourite ‘sons songs. I can’t help but question the logic of finishing on that, rather than the buzz of having jumped around like crazy, but then what do I know.

This was my first gig since I moved out of London. The 2 hour journey home, 1am bedtime and then 6am start today has left me feeling a little jaded. Yet, I have a smile on my face and find myself humming Electric man every time the office goes quiet. Good times had with more to come. Bring on the summer!

Full set-list for the gig is up at setlist.fm


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