Rival Sons - London, Borderline - 13th July 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rowland   
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 05:00

sons7It's another sold out, 'ot 'n' sweaty Wednesday night at the Borderline for a face full of some more classic rock, this time courtesy of California's Rival Sons. Promoting new album 'Pressure and Time', an Uber Rock HQ favourite, this is the last chance to see this truly rockin' four piece fine tune their show before they head out to the arenas as guests on the Judas Priest tour.


From the opener 'Gypsy Heart' it's quite clear this band are already very finely tuned as they rip through several choice cuts from the 'Pressure and Time' album. As fine as that album is, the songs suit the live environment even better, so the likes of 'All Over The Road', 'Pressure and Time' and 'Burn Down Los Angeles' fizz with that little extra sparkle, groove and soul.


What's interesting about this band compared to a lot of the other current 'retro' rockers is that they take their music nearer to the source of Rock'n'Roll, so whilst a lot of the others emulate Zeppelin, Rival Sons seem to take inspiration from the 60's bands that pre-date Zep so there's a lot of soul, beat and psych thrown into the mix with this band. 'Young Love' is a prime example, and they come on like a young Small Faces or Animals with this track, which gets every foot tapping and head nodding in the joint.


By the time it gets to 'Soul', singer Jay Buchanan comes across like a male Janis Joplin as he shows what he's all about, tearing into the song with power, passion and a heart full of...ummm soul. The likes of 'Get What's Coming', with its Page-esque riffing, and 'Radio' do have a more Zep feel to them and suitably rock the crowd down to the ground.


The set closer is a pretty explosive version of the Them classic 'Baby Please Don't Go', where once again the band are wearing their influences on their sleeves, and the version is much more true to the 60's original than subsequent versions of this much covered song. You can just imagine that's a young Van the Man up there belting it out.


Rival Sons are obviously a band with total passion about the music they love, and the complete authenticity of their sound is borne out of genuine respect for the early bands that influenced what became heavy rock. They're taking it back to the source, thrilling crowds and having a whole lot of fun along the way. I think they're going to go down a storm at this year's High Voltage, the perfect festival for them. Quite what a heavy metal Judas Priest audience is going to make of them on the forthcoming tour, I'm not sure, but if you appreciate good music, then you can't fail to appreciate Rival Sons.