Last Saturday, Rival Sons tore up the stage at Denver’s Summit Music Hall. This Long Beach band has been serving up dirty guitar solos and ripping vocal lines since 2009, after the release of their album Before The Fire. From there, here’s a quick recap of their career: RS dropped a self-released EP in 2010, which caught the eye of Earache Records, who signed them later that year. Rival Sons’ third release, Pressure & Time, came out on Earshot in 2011 and ended up hitting #19 on the Billboard charts. And from that point forward, the band has power-housed full steam ahead: In 2012, their album Head Down annihilated music charts throughout the world, gaining huge recognition in the UK, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The band then released Great Western Valkyrie to critical acclaim; this year they dropped their latest, Hollow Bones. And to add to their live credibility, Rival Sons have supported some serious legends on tour, including AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Sammy Hagar, and Black Sabbath.
It’s no mystery why this four-piece is so well-loved throughout the world. These boys know how to rock, and they do it well. Lead singer Jay Buchanan has a serious set of pipes. I am going to go ahead and say he may, perhaps, have one of the most beautifully dynamic and powerful male voices in this age of rock and roll.
I am a fan of headbanging. I have a serious amount of respect for those who do it, and I like to myself, but until this show, I had no idea I had an equal amount of passion for beardbanging. Keyboard slaying, tamborine-crushing band member Todd Ögren-Brooks had such a long luscious beard, he could literally beardbang with it. I will stop at simply saying I was highly impressed by this rare talent.
All in all Saturday’s show was a ripper. Rival Sons played fan favorites like “Keep On Swinging” and “Electric Man”, as well as a wide selection of songs from Hollow Bones. I will say that certain songs live come off a whole lot poppier than they are on the records. I was always impressed by Jay’s vocals, but longed for the drive of their well-known rock sound and less of their slower, strippped-down instamentals with elongated vocal lines. Still, it was a solid set.