Californians Rival Sons have spent the last year of their lives on the road with the legendary Black Sabbath on their farewell tour. They have been filling days off with headline shows and tonight The Junction in Cambridge is lucky enough to welcome the band to the city. Rival Sons last played this venue back in 2013 as they began their ascent in this country. That show was a sell out so it’s no surprise that tonight also sells out well in advance.
The venue is already full when tonight’s support act takes to the stage. Pat Dam Smyth is a very hairy guitarist, and he is accompanied by his drumming friend. When they take to the stage you sense the venue is a little unsure of what will follow, but by the end of their short set, they receive a decent reception from the crowd. It’s a good start to what promises to be a great night of music and anticipation is high for our headliners up next.
Despite only forming in 2009, the band have already released five studio albums, with the most recent coming last year entitled ‘Hollow Bones’. You certainly can’t accuse this band of being lazy, as they have also spent most of their career on tour. This past couple of years they have taken large supporting slots for both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. This has of course been good for exposure but has limited the amount of headline shows the band has been able to play. It’s very clear the band have missed playing longer shows as singer Jay Buchanan references this numerous times.
As the theme from ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ introduces the band to the stage, they receive a hero’s welcome and launch straight into three new tracks, ‘Hollow Bones Pt.1’, ‘Tied Up’ and ‘Thundering Voices’ which demonstrates their confidence in their new album. That confidence is well placed as ‘Hollow Bones’ continues the bands track record of delivering quality music.
The evening really kicks into gear next however when guitarist Scott Holiday teases the audience with the opening licks of the brilliant ‘Electric Man’ before the band storm through the song to the delight of those in attendance. ‘Secret’ and ‘Pressure And Time’ keep the momentum going before the band begin mixing their set list up from recent shows. Tonight the fans are treated to the likes of ‘Belle Starr’, ‘Where I’ve Been’ and ‘Fade Out’.
Rival Sons always have been recognised as great musicians, but perhaps their strongest instrument is Buchanan’s powerful voice. He is at his best tonight, appearing to be truly happy to play to the bands own fans. Buchanan and co continue to mesmerise those fans with ‘Tell Me Something’, ‘Memphis Sun’ and ‘Face Of Light’ preceding the stunning ‘Torture’.
With ‘Open My Eyes’, ‘Hollow Bones Pt.2’ and fan favourite ‘Keep On Swinging’ closing off a great evening of rock, the crowd go into the night happy. As for the band, as Buchanan mentions it’s now time for them to steer their own ship. As good as these support slots are, nothing beats proving yourselves in your own right. That’s what Rival Sons need to do now to take things to the next level, but on showings like tonight there is no doubting the potential of this band.