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Thursday, 11 April 2013

View From The Back Of The Room: Rival Sons

Rival Sons, Graveltones and Ulyssess: Solus, Cardiff

So a night of classic rock was in order after the metal of last week and the prog on the weekend and that’s precisely what I got.


Coming on to the stage with very little fanfare Ulyssess are bad that merge trippy psychedelic hard rock with bouncy power pop and have their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. The band also has a penchant for funky headgear and off kilter playing. They were a great warm up act that were a bit Hendrix in the guitar freak-outs, a bit The Who like with the almost mod-style power pop and also they have definite similarity to the Fab Four's later years especially on closer Taxi Driver which has the Drive My Car "Beep, Beep, Yeah!" refrain in it. Ulyssess were a slow burner they started out with their wilder sprawling psychedelic songs and then progressed through to the heavier stuff before the set climaxed into all four men playing cowbell at the end. A good band with a strong future they managed to win over the crowd bringing them in early. 8/10


I'll level with you I thought the Graveltones were the best support band I've seen since I first saw Vintage Trouble. Never have a band enthralled me straight from the off. Just a two piece made up of Jimmy O on guitar and vocals and man mountain Mikey Sorbello behind the skins (seriously the man looks like tank!) I was expecting Black Keys/White Stripes like garage blues, which in fairness is what I got but also so much more. From the off you can see that both of these men are supremely talented. Jimmy pushes pulls and hits his guitar to bring out all manner of feedback before cranking out some seriously heavy fuzzed up and distorted riffs and searing solos while accompanying them with his strong bluesy wail that is similar to Mr White's. However the real star of the band (backed up by the cheer he received) is Mr Sorbello who possibly hits his drum kit harder than anyone I've ever seen, he literally smashes the symbols and brings out a wall of noise however as a counterpoint he can also handle jazz percussion using little wrist techniques to break up the wall of sound. The two of them build quite a racket and seem to be having a ball while doing it with so much energy on the stage that you'd have to be made of stone not to like them. A great set that meant that the Rival Sons had a lot of work to do following this. 9/10 *As a little note I have never looked forward to a drum solo but with this band I was crying out for one and the crowd erupted when it came!

Rival Sons

With the gauntlet set Rival Sons had a lot to do thankfully due to a partisan crowd and an almost flawless set they easily reached and exceeded the challenge. The set was taken primarily from their excellent new album Head Down and was mixed with their second album and their EP to create a career spanning set. Things kicked off with The Who-like percussive intro an roof raising Rock N Roll of You Want To before the jumping wah-wah drenched riffage of Get What's Coming followed and with those two songs the crowd were hooked watching every tub thumped by Mike Miley every string plucked by Robin Everhart, every riff strummed and every solo peeled off by Scott Holliday and they also watched as frontman Jay Buchanan wailed his way through the songs and moved around the stage like Tyler in his prime. The man has a seriously good voice able to switch from hard rocker to soul crooner in an instant. Next up was the voodoo of Wild Animal which was followed by the fuzz and distortion filled Gypsy Heart before the stomping blues of Torture was the first sing along. The blues theme continued with the gospel, storytelling of All The Way and ended with the almost Stax records sounding Until The Sun Comes Up. The set then became slower with Buchanan showing off his almighty voice to full effect on the awesome Jordan which is prime Woodstock material this was followed by a short explanation of the haunting, brooding, Zeppelin-like next song Manifest Destiny Part 1. The rock was brought back with a vengeance with two singles Keep On Swinging and Pressure & Time before the main set ended with the excellent Face of Light a song dedicated to Buchanan's son. A short break a short drum solo (not as good as the Graveltones' I'm afraid) and then the last two songs which were the soul-rock stomp of Burn Down Los Angeles and then finally the enlightening and uplifting Soul which came to a climax with a massive guitar solo from Holliday. As a live act Rival Sons are excellent enthralling, bewitching, soulful and seriously rocking they deliver everything you expect and more, future arena headliners in the making. 9/10

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