The morning of April 13th brought news of a sold out show. This was a staggering improvement on the last tour, but an unsurprising one at that. In the past few months Rival Sons have been one of the most talked about, uprising rock bands around, especially in the UK. Feelings of pride from those who have been following the band for a while soon turned into feelings of excitement. Fans and friends alike congregated outside the Leeds Metropolitan Student Union, queuing in the cold and rain, all anxious to get in.
Our opening act for the evening were Ulysses, classic rockers with a very 70’s vibe, not just with their look, but also with their sound. They kick off with a fairly foot tapping, head bobbing few tracks, reaching a moderately captivated audience playing tracks off their new album Kill You Again.
Almost without warning our next band are on stage, though their intro may have been mistaken for a sound test, as an intense fuzz/distortion guitar is thrashed, with immense use of the killswitch. Regardless, there were two men on stage, one with this guitar and the other behind a kit, sporting a healthy beard. This gimmicky sound does its job and people’s attentions are fixed on this duo.
It’s soon made apparent that the word “conventional” doesn’t feature in The Graveltone’s dictionary, instead they’ve scribbled over it with “power” and “intensity” as this fuzzy, ‘in your face’ guitar tone storms into some intricate riffs. The other half of this band was sat behind the kit with a stick in one hand and a tambourine in the other. You could almost see his drum skins cowering in fear from his ferocious drumming attitude. The skill, precision and power of his playing is exceptional and a joy to watch.
The openers had now done their job and this room was about to erupt. Right on cue, the mighty Rival Sons step out on stage to do what they do and to do it well.They are met with much elation before blasting into the lively You Want To, sending the audience nuts! The first 3 tracks are played loud and seamlessly. Lots of extended interludes make for a slightly indulgent, but very artistic display of this band’s chemistry. Rival Sons are not men of glorification, but a united entity doing whatever they need to do for the good of the band and the overall effect the music is having.
When finally this force comes to a temporary pause, lead singer Jay Buchanan reveals he is feeling under the weather; not that any of us could tell as his flawless vocal range is seemingly endless. The set continues in this same powerful manner until a heartfelt Memphis Sun is played. The first slower song of the evening and we can see the emotion dripping off the band. This contrast of might and passion is a constant throughout the rest of the show. Much to everyone’s delight an old favourite, the elegant Sacred Tongue, has returned to the set on this tour. It provides a powerful lead up to Face of Light which Jay dedicates to his son back home.
A set full of songs new and old brings a special night to all. Jay’s closing words of “It might not sound like the record, but it sounds like tonight” makes every last one of us feel grateful to have been a part of yet another incredible performance.
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