Saturday, 4 April 2015

Finally got to see Rival Sons ... big thanks to Rock City, Nottingham!

Drum kit Rival sons at the Leadmill Sheffield November 2014

Remember how we missed seeing Rival Sons at the Leadmill last year cos I hurt my leg and couldn't go (thanks to mate, Steve for permission to use one of his pictures). Well, luckily for us, they're in the UK at the moment, we got tickets for their gig at Rock City and that's where we were last night.

Drum kit belonging to Rival Sons Rock City Nottingham 2015

Thanks to Steve again for one of his pictures, just look at those Orange amps, MTM says he hasn't seen any like those since the 70s. Apparently they don't make them any more, goodness knows where a relatively new band like Rival Sons got them from, they must've been scouring secondhand shops and Ebay for years! MTM says they're well known to provide fantastic reverb on the backline and he wants to know if they're 1975 vintage twin Mark IIs (made in Huddersfield I'm told).

The guitarist, Scott Holiday got a great sound out of them, lots of reverb and distortion. During Open My Eyes it sounded like Tommy Bolin was reincarnated. Manifest Destiny is a masterpiece and a great showpiece for Scott's guitar. As big Robin Trower fans, both MTM and I could hear Bridge of Sighs but Scott has invented a blues guitar sound that's exclusively his own.

Jay Buchanan, the lead singer, WHAT a voice and stage presence, he's just mesmerising, he sings like someone has cast a spell on him; very very focused. His performance was brilliant. Definitely a unique talent but I hope he won't mind if I briefly mention some comparisons which came to mind ... Michael Hutchence (INXS) for stagecraft and physical appearance and Jim Morrison (Doors) for sheer charisma ... in fact imagine every great frontman to a band and then know that, in my opinion, this guy is as good, if not better, than any of them.

I was a little concerned before we went along because I read a couple of negative reviews of their Liverpool show but I needn't've worried, They were on stage for two hours and rocked Rock City to the rafters. One of the best gigs I've been to by a bunch of exceedingly cool dudes. When we got home, we were too wired to sleep and so we drank wine, played their albums and relived the concert into the early hours.

I love the fact that Jay says "Nottingham" exactly the same way as Darren on Planet Rock does when he does the Travel and Traffic report. Us Brits pronounce it "Notting-um" Americans say it the same way it's written so that final syllable is "ham". I love an American accent particularly when they're saying British place names, it makes us sound more exotic than we actually are!

I know the band can't see the audience unless the lights are up but I swear Jay made eye contact with me personally on at least 5 different occasions, such a thrill!

My own three word review (more of that later) for Rival Sons' performance  at Rock City is:
"Exceeded all expectations"

MTM's three word review:
"Dangerous, edgy, primeaval"

A quick shout out to the London Souls who supported, a guitarist who looks a bit like Jimi Hendrix and a drummer. Amazing sound from just two guys with some really well crafted songs. Definitely want to hear more from them!

Due to my leg episode, it was nearly a year since I last went to a gig but we also got to see Robin Trower at the Engine Shed, Lincoln only last week. You don't go to a gig for months and then two favourite bands come along in a fortnight!

The Robin Trower concert was a real treat, we'd got our tickets as soon as they were issued, then a few weeks later, it was announced that Joanne Shaw Taylor would be supporting him and we couldn't believe our luck - a double bill so far as we were concerned. Joanne played for around three quarters of an hour; she did a fabulous set, we really want to see her separately to experience a full a set so that's on the wish list next time she's headlining anywhere near us. I even got Joanne Shaw Taylor's autograph on my ticket as she was selling merchandise on her table herself.

Joanne Shaw Taylor autograph on Robin Trower ticket

Robin was of course, also absolutely brilliant. We worked out that it's 35 years since we last saw him live, in fact Robin Trower, Leeds Uni in 1980 was the first gig that MTM and I went to together, the Victims of the Fury tour when the wonderful James Dewar was still alive. It was so nice to complete the circle but I'd like to think Robin (despite having just turned 70) will tour a few more years and we'll get the opportunity to see him again soon. A fantastic night out.

A couple of days after we saw Robin and Joanne, my favourite Planet Rock presenter, Darren Redick asked on their Facebook page for a three word review of any concerts we'd been to during the weekend so I added mine "Fabulous Blues Pairing", he read it out on air and said he could believe it was, I was so proud!


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