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RIVAL SONS, The Classic Grand/Garage, Glasgow
27 September 2012

Rival Sons, photo by David Wilson

Rival Sons and I have had a rocky relationship to date. I have seen the guys on a couple of occasions prior to these shows and I have been less than impressed.

My first encounter was at the SECC in support to Judas Priest and the second was at Download where the set was shortened due to technical issues. On both occasions, though, I did think the main problem was the venues and the situation rather than the band themselves, so would tonight's more intimate shows prove any better?

Rival Sons, photo by David Wilson

First up tonight was an acoustic set for Real XS competition winners. The venue was the smaller hall in the Classic Grand which is best described as intimate. After a quick intro by the ever present Tom Russell the band took to the stage and kicked off with 'Burn Down Los Angeles'.

Over the course of the three numbers the band proved that they were capable of providing gutsy, blues laden rock that just hadn't translated in the bigger venues.

The set was very well received, so much so that their schedule got chucked out the window and they played a fourth track, namely 'Keep On Swinging' after which they left the stage to rapturous applause. Round 1 to Rival Sons then.

Rival Sons, photo by David Wilson

Next stop was The Garage to witness the band's full set which further showed how circumstances can dictate your view of a band live.

This set was a full on rhythm and blues experience with frontman Jay Buchanan giving it his all. The main elements that define the band are Jay's vocals which were strong and soulful and the excellent guitar work Scott Holiday who was impressive throughout.

Rival Sons, photo by David Wilson

The set was culled from the band's back catalogue and from their newly released album 'Head Down', the highlights being 'Burn Down Los Angeles' again, 'Gypsy Heart' which was a soul filled classic and the encore of 'Manifest Destiny Parts 1 & 2' which allowed both Scott's guitar work and the excellent rhythm section of Robin Everhart and Mike Miley to shine.

After witnessing Rival Sons tonight I finally 'get it'. The band and their songs are made for smaller, more intimate venues and seeing them in that setting it all made sense. So round two, and the plaudits go to Rival Sons.

Review and photos by David Wilson

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