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  • keyboard_arrow_rightRIVAL SONS: BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY



today27 October, 2023 2

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Tonight, is the penultimate night of the UK leg of Rival Sons European tour. One that opened last week in Camden’s Roundhouse to promote not one but two albums, Darkfighter released back in June and Lightbringer released just a few days ago, both follow Feral Roots released prior to the pandemic.

Opening proceedings tonight are LA Edwards, vocalist Luke is joined by brothers Jay on guitar and Jerry on drums, like Rival Sons they too hail from California.  LA Edwards play a set largely made up from their recent album Out of the Heart of Darkness. I particularly enjoyed both The Crow and the Day I Die. They were a good support act, were well received and went some way building the crowd ready for tonight’s main act.

As the lights go down the band come out from the side of the stage to play Mirrors, a song that starts with what sounds like a ‘church’ organ swirling towards a crescendo when Guitarist Scott Holiday launches into some heavy guitar riffs, and accompanied by the incredible powerful vocals of Jay Buchanan, it makes for a dynamic start to the evening. Mirrors describes a strong feeling of self-reflection and breaking free, the chorus even goes on to mention ‘smashing the mirror to see beyond’. Electric Man follows along with Memphis Sun to form the first three songs.

Scott is dressed very sharply tonight, in his usual style, fitted suits, shades and a wide brimmed hat, while barefooted Jay is dressed in matching trousers and waistcoat.

Their set was a great mix of their albums, mostly from their latest releases, but includes several previous albums. They played an absolutely fantastic version of Feral Roots, with Jay playing an acoustic guitar, and Scott playing a double neck guitar. I lost count of how many guitar changes he has, his guitar tech must be a busy man throughout a gig.

Talking prior, about  Faces of Light, Jay mentioned how with this, they felt they achieved something special and of course who could not have missed that fabulous solo from Scott. This was followed by Shooting Stars, after a heartfelt plea from Jay about the current atrocities currently going on in the world, this song had the crowd singing along with him.  Introducing Mosaic Jay mentioned waking up in a hotel room and writing the basics of the song, and how much it means to him. This was one from their Lightbringer album.

Anthemic Do Your Worst showcases the powerhouse drumming of Mike Miley and solid basslines of Dave Beste, but for the majority of the night, it’s the interaction of Jay and Scott that take centre stage.

Jay thanked everyone in the crowd for supporting live music as the set closes with Keep on Swinging taken from their Heads Down album, it left the crowd wanting more, but tonight we’ve had a great set, almost two hours long, from a band at the top of their game, will they play Bristol 02 again, or move onto the bigger venues? I guess that remains to be seen.

Words and pictures: Sam Holt

Written by: NOW Radio