The west coast crew stopped by to rock two east coast hubs this past week. The Rival Sons, making greater waves with each new endeavor, are currently on tour in support of their latest release, Great Western Valkyrie. First stop on my tour was New York City, where backstage the ‘Sons prepared to play the historic Irving Plaza. An intimate space by design, adorned by vintage chandeliers and velvet walls, set the stage for a night of classic rock and roll. Meanwhile in Boston a few nights later, the band graced the former historic Harper’s Ferry, now Brighton Music Hall. The set was mastered with only minor tweaks between, and the band packed each space with enthusiastic fans like nobody’s business.
To start each night, Monster Truck, whom the band met at a festival earlier this year, donned the stage with a reckless abandon. A well-balanced compliment to Rival Sons’ style, this opener showed they could really play. The audience was all about this Canadian quartet. Guitarist Jeremy Widerman shredded the stage, while bassist Jon Harvey belted every verse with a passion.
With the bar set high, the now rowdy crowd simmered in anticipation of the night’s main attraction. Stage light set low, the band rushed the stage, jumping into singles off the new album. They say the best test for new material is the road test. And what better way than to start with just that. The crowd immediately answered the call to get up and get down with this new fangled sound. It seems that each new release brings a new layer of maturation and an excitement as to what they’ll do next. Rollicking through singles across all time and space, no album was left behind. Jay Buchanan’s soul may just leave a little piece behind each stage he exits. The man’s moves know no equal, as each note flows out of every pore. As he jumped around the intimate stage, anyone close enough got a glimpse of his shoeless feet. I’ll digress on the hippie comparisons and go straight for the hygiene factor here. Nevertheless, all elements stripped down keep him open and honest to the music he feels deep down. The transparency with the audience takes the performance to new heights. Because of this raw undeniable talent, the rest of the band alike, the live show seamlessly translates the studio recording. This may be in part to their live studio recording process, but that’s beside the point. These guys can rock and leave you begging for more.
..And that’s why there’s an encore built into every show nowadays. Talk about saving the best for last. Scott Holiday’s guitar screams for mercy on “Open My Eyes,” while Jay and Dave exchange vocals to shout the chorus line. The ferocity and power behind each note give this single all the glory it rightfully deserves and proving the new material has got to be doing something right.
– Don Tice