Home Gigs Gig Review : Rival Sons @ Barrowland, Glasgow

Gig Review : Rival Sons @ Barrowland, Glasgow

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Review & Photography by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

Rival sons make a triumphant return to a sold out crowd in one of their favourite second cities and the Glasgow choir gave them and their performance the perfect appreciation.

Support tonight was from fellow statesmen LA Edwards and their brand of folk rock went down a treat. The band mix rock, country, folk and add a little dabble of bluegrass.

The boys looked delighted to be here and grateful for the opportunity to open for Rival Sons and a nine song setlist that got everybody in the mood for the main event.

They opened with “Already Gone” which gave us a taste of what the and were about and their vast musical accompaniment. They followed up with a very folky and to my ears a Runrig esche “Peace Be With You”

Highlight for me was “The Crow” as it hit hard on a Tom Perry vibe. All in all an enjoyable set from the band and they certainly won over a fair new fans tonight.

Now for what we were here to see and after hearing both Darkfighter and Lightbringer I was totally hyped for this show and had been for some time.

The band casually took to the stage plugged in and got on with it. Jay strolled out with dress trousers, waistcoat, no shirt or shoes and instantly enraptured the crowd before they even kicked into “Mirrors” from Darkfighter. This band have been on a huge trajectory since Feral Roots and the quality of this song explains exactly why. I am honestly struggling to think of a band who has laid down such an incredible three album run in recent times.

Next we shuffle onto “Sweet Life” from the unreleased Lightbringer and for most this would be the first time of hearing and with the audience reaction you could not tell. From the new we went back to the old and faithful in “Pressure and Time” which saw the whole band break out the percussion with numerous shakers and tambourines.

It harks back to where the band had not found themselves yet but they had found their groove and today they have honed and tied down those early hints of stardom to another level. The legend that is Scott Holliday takes centre stage and mesmerises us all.

We get a one two barrage from Darkfighter in “Rapture” and “Bird in the Hand” and this highlights my points on how good these new albums are when we see how many tracks are played live tonight.

I had seen the setlist prior and I did wonder if anyone would be disappointed with the amount of new tracks being included but not one person I spoke to even mentioned it. Everyone was blown away. When you have the beauty of songs like “Rapture” how could you ever be disappointed?

Onto another song that has not been released yet and we see Jay get out the acoustic and reminisce on their journey just in this town alone. Jay seemed very proud of “Mosaic” and so he should as it is stunning and its simplicity and lyrical content takes it to a different level.

Next up is a real fan favourite in “Feral Roots”. The acoustic stays and Jay sounded fantastic. I have to give a huge shout out for the sound tonight. It was incredible, The guitars, the vocals, the percussion and the keys were perfection. I always take a wonder around a venue and in every spot I stopped the sound was crisp, clean and crystal clear.

A bit of a surprise in a Bob Dylan cover of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and this fits perfectly with Jay’s vocals and within the set. We then went back in time for “Open my Eyes” which was followed with a drum solo and as usual the Glasgow crowd will find a way to sneak in the chant, Here we, here we, here we fucking go.

We get an old school visit to “Torture” and the better this band gets, the more incredible songs they release classics like this will be played fewer and further between but I suppose this is why you follow a band and can say you heard all the old tracks back in the day.

Another two tracks from current album in “Horses Breath” and the title track and these are set up beautifully and are filled with atmosphere. It is amazing how a dark album can come over so powerful but I suppose the darkest depths tell the greater tales. The track Darkfigher itself stands on its own as a mark of genius and witnessing the anguish of those lyrics “There are no promises to keep anymore” really kicks you in the solar plexus.

According to my setlist tonight someone made a boo boo as they burst into “Face of Light” missing “Mercy” but they rectify it straight after. We get a guitar solo on this and as Scott pulls on a double neck he moves into Joe Perry coolness levels and Mr Cooper should get in touch, can you imagine Depp, Perry and Holliday on stage for a Hollywood Vampire’s show?

“Mercy” is another classic from “Lightbringer”. The album has only six tracks but each one is sublime and fills out the dark and light story of these two albums and none moreso than this track. The guitar makes it soar and it takes your spirits with it.

The stand out song live for me in the last few years has been “Shooting Stars” and tonight it is on fire. Jay takes it to a new level as he speaks about the atrocities across the world and how this song is a cry for help to all, you can feel the begging in the mans voice as he says no matter who is to blame children should never been the consequences and this hits home hard. I sang those lyrics, I felt them, I owned them and at the end of the song I wiped away the tears in my eyes.

Everyone was still emotionally reeling as the previous message is hammered home with “Nobody Wants to Die”. The inevitability is eased with a kick ass version of the song before the band bow out with “Do Your Worst” and an insane rendition of “Electric Man”.

It is amazing to think how far Rival Sons have came in the nine years since that last song. You could say they are unrecognisable to the band that will release “Lightbringer” this Friday but like all things that get older they have just matured.

The band are incredible together and the material they put out is the best they have ever recorded. I do not expect to see them in this venue again as I have watched them over the years it is time to step up again.

Rival Sons are at the top of their game and they deserve to be headline acts in arenas around the world.

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