On 18th Oct, Rival Sons played Manchester’s Academy supporting the two albums they have released this year – Darkfigher in June, and Lightbringer on 22nd Oct. They were supported by L.A. Edwards.
L.A. Edwards played a set consisting of songs from all of their releases, plus a new song, Good Luck. The reaction from the crowd was positive, and there seemed to be a number of their fans in attendance. Their lovely harmonies, some glorious guitar riffs, along with hints of Jackson Browne and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, wrapped in an americana/country rock blanket, provided an entertaining set, with plenty of catchy lyrics to live rent-free in your head. If you fancy seeing them live, they’re due back in the UK supporting Lucinda Williams in February 2024.
The between-song chat was well received and his wish to engage the Manchester crowd was obvious. Whilst not an obvious choice for support, their performance held the attention of many of the audience, and if this reviewer was not already familiar with their back catalogue, it would have prompted them to check it out.
As is standard for this venue, the mix of vocals not being loud enough and the weird amplification of talking from the crowd distracted somewhat from what was on stage. This makes giving an objective opinion of a band you have not previously heard hard. This being said, the show put on by Rivals Sons was impressive. The energy from the band and the passion shown by Jay Buchanan’s vocals helped to negate some of the annoyance created.
Despite the above, Rivals Sons were an obvious hit with their audience. The large mix of songs from this year’s new releases didn’t prevent them from singing along and clearly enjoying everything played.
From the point of view of a newcomer to Rival Sons: the band sounded great; the stage presence was what you would expect from someone with ten-plus years’ experience; and they held the crowd’s attention well, emoting the right kind of response to their most-loved songs. Even though this reviewer was not actively aware of knowing any of their music, they were singing along to “Do Your Worst” and “Shooting Stars” with the rest of the crowd.
Whilst it was probably not the best introduction to the band for someone with no knowledge of their music, anyone familiar with their songs would have found it hard not to be drawn in by the experience. The inclusion of drum and guitar solos allowed for the audience to see just how talented the band is, and allowed the individual band members a few minutes to let loose.
If you’re thinking of going to see Rival Sons, you won’t be disappointed, but it’s worth paying close attention to where you stand if it’s going to be at the Manchester Academy.