Rival Sons - Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Mon 16 Jun 2014
Californian posse showing utter devotion to the retro rock of Led Zep, Doors et al
Led Zeppelin are the archetypal rock gods: the thundering guitars, the psychedelic leanings, the band that pioneered heavy rock excess. And there seems to be a new wave of bands reaching back and taking inspiration from Zeppelin and their ilk (Deep Purple, The Doors, Rolling Stones, Free, Aerosmith), with The Temperance Movement, The Answer and Wolfmother relighting the blues rock touch paper. And it seems to be striking a (power) cord with audiences; the Liquid Rooms is a hot and sweaty sell out and Rival Sons have already booked another tour in larger venues for later this year (including the O2 ABC, Glasgow, 14 Dec).
Hailing from California, Rival Sons know their way round a guitar lick. There's a total dedication to their musical forefathers: Jay Buchanan, writhes and bucks on stage like he's in a trance, communing with the Lizard King. His howled vocals cut through with emotion and a rich gravelly tone. The gospel balladry of 'Good Things' aches with sorrow while ‘Open My Eyes’ sounds wild and feral. He can sell any song. You can't fault their musicianship drummer: Mike Miley, new bassist David Beste (he joined the line-up in 2013) and guitarist Scott Holliday can play and play hard. They launch into an extended psych rock work out during the encore that is powerful and entrancing in equal measure. Holliday in particular wringing some particularly ferocious riffs from his instrument during 'Manifest Destiny, Part 1'. Their utter devotion to retro rock means that while you have to respect their total commitment there is a lack of innovation.