Rival Sons @ o2 Academy, 5th February 2019

Mixing a little California cool with a little Nashville edge, hard rock band Rival Sons is an amalgamation of style and sound. Their anthemic rock records are massive, warping and transfixing a room in an unparalleled way. This pure epicness was on full display as Rival Sons took to the O2 Academy. Bringing new release Feral Roots to life Rival Sons delivered a bombastic night of pure rock bliss. 

After an energetic little opening set from Canadian southern rock band The Sheepdogs, Rival Sons took to the stage with ‘Back in the Woods.’ The blackened stage grew to life with the sound of wildlife echoing around the room, transporting us into the woods,  a flurry of drums and a lightning bolt of sound broke the tension. The smooth staccato voice of Rival Son’s Jay Buchanan matched the emphatic guitar, creating an expansive and morphing chorus of sound. ‘Back in the Woods’ delivered an energy punch, the perfect way to start the gig. 

The piercing high-octane rock continued as ‘Sugar on the Bone,’ with its elongated instrumentals and undulating vocals, filled the room. A clear fan favourite ‘Pressure and Time’ found duelling drums and guitar, a mega rock sound that filled the room. The crescendo of sights and sound continued as ‘Electric Man’ slid through the speakers, the tempered vocals playing off of the resounding guitar. 

After a short instrumental swap ‘Too Bad’ echoed in the room. The guttural instrumentals seemed to perfectly sonically display the love and lament that is present in the lyrics, playing with the fans heartstrings as the sonic exploration of the depth of despair was juxtaposed by the splicing rock tinge. The emotionally tinged tunes continued as rock ballad ‘Jordan’ was followed by an acoustic intro to ‘Feral Roots.’ The title track from the new album ramped up, the acoustic sound fading as the outlaw country drums slammed into the set. Blasting pure rock ‘Feral Roots’ proved to be an explosive record that fans loved. 

Back to the explosive rock, Rival Sons continue the set with ‘Stood By Me,’ ‘Torture’ and ‘Imperial Joy.’ As each record sprang forth the power produced by the instrumentals and vocals grew, reaching climatic resonance as ‘Open My Eyes’ followed. Backlit in blue the pleading request of ‘Open My Eyes’ morphed alienistic dystopian guitars with massive drums, a sonic exploration that fans adored. Draped in green ‘Look Away’ continued the pure rock energy. Anthemic ‘End of Forever’ and fan favourite ‘Do Your Worst’ rounded out the night, the band returning for ‘Shooting Stars’ and ‘Keep on Swinging.’

Like rock gods Rival Sons owned the O2 Academy stage. Their new release Feral Roots is packed with anthemic powerhouses, cascading over the room with pure rock energy when played live. Wowing fans with their massive energy and sound Rival Sons delivered an unforgettable night. 

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

Photographer: Chris Bowley

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