A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a club with a friend and we were talking about bad ass bands, and the name Rival Sons came up. I had never heard of the band previously, so I had I a lot of questions. Where are they from? What kind of music do they play? How many albums have they released? The only I answer I got?
“Dude. Just check them out. They will blow your mind.”
Considering that my friend plays in a bad ass band as well, I didn’t take the blunt statement of approval lightly. I surfed the web the following day and started doing some “research”. My friend was right. My mind was blown.
I really got into rock and roll when I purchased my first Led Zeppilin album, “House of the Holy”. I must have played that CD a hundred times during my four years of college. It shaped the way I listen to music, and has since shaped my sensibilities. Needless to say, I’m a pretty big fan of classic rock.
Rival Sons are classic rock revivalists, and they are, quite simply, bad ass. They’ve been releasing records since 2009 with 4 studio albums under their belt, and I’ve been kicking myself in the ass for not having heard of them until recently. The fact that they are based out of Long Beach, California and I hadn’t heard of them until now? Yes … shame on me.
I wanted to see them at The Troubadour, but that show had sold out. Though I hardly ever travel outside my comfort zone (Los Angeles) to see bands play, they were embarking on a world tour that’ll basically run through till the end of the year, and I knew that I couldn’t wait until next year to see them perform live. So I sucked up the prospect of an hour long commute, and made my way to a new venue in a foreign territory: The Observatory in Orange County.
Thankfully, I had company for the trek, but when I got to the Observatory, I found it to be quite a terrific venue. It was set up so that there was a pretty decent view from anywhere in the audience (unless you had an extremely tall patron in front of you). It wasn’t overpacked and the crowd, at least for this show, was extremely friendly. Enough with the venue … let’s get to the music.
In my opinion, they’ve got everything a killer band needs. A charismatic frontman with killer pipes? Jay Buchanan has it in spades. A bad ass guitar player? Scott Holiday and his Dali-esque mustache looked and played as badass as it gets. Dave Beste (bass) and Mike Miley (drums) complete the music puzzle capturing a huge, guitar-driven classic rock sound that many try to copy, but fail to achieve. These guys nail it.
These guys nail it, but they aren’t imitators. They take the music that’s influenced them, and create a fresh, rocking sound that, though revivalist, is current and edgy. God damn, it was good. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to catch them live again. It’s a good thing I’m a patient man. I just hope that the LPs I purchased don’t get worn out before they get back into town.