RIVAL SONS have bounced from Long Beach to amaze people all over the world, not to forget the recent performance at Grammy Awards. I personally have witnessed the band live a couple of times before, either at festivals or as a warm-up act for a bigger band. As soon as I knew that the tour for their newest release “Feral Roots” was to take RIVAL SONS with THE LAST INTERNATIONALE to Helsinki, it was the time to reserve the day for rock ’n roll. Check out our photo gallery.
First of all, it was nice to have a perfectly fitting warm-up band for a change. Except that I wouldn’t even call THE LAST INTERNATIONALE a warm-up act, they delivered like they would’ve been the last band of the evening. The Circus was already quite full as the band was getting started with “Killing Fields”, and everyone seemed to really enjoy THE LAST INTERNATIONALE.
Edgey Pires was almost constantly running across the stage with his Les Paul, making sure that everyone was sure how much energy they had. In my opinion, their slot could’ve been a bit longer than just 6 songs, but this will entice me to go see their next show if they are to visit Helsinki in the future again. This was their last show with RIVAL SONS, the next ones will be well-deserved headlining shows at least in France and Germany. The set ended with “Hit ‘em With Your Blues”, and I believe it wasn’t the only hit song given that THE LAST INTERNATIONALE is a band I have to get more familiar with.
The stage got dark as the intro tape for “End of Forever” started to play and RIVAL SONS entered the stage. Without any special tricks or gimmicks, they showed just how good their live performance was and has been. That’s how I got so interested in the band in the first place, the raw and powerful voice of Jay Buchanan is pretty much a guaranteed giver of shivers. For my ears, there was only one moment during the shows when he almost missed a higher note, but that’s something that probably happens when you are singing with that kind of power every single night during a tour.
Also, let’s give a moment to appreciate Scott Holiday and his guitar playing skills. His usage of pedals and the ability to craft riffs are an essential part of how RIVAL SONS sounds like, not to forget how he can make the guitar squeal with those solos. As the band is quite often mentioned along LED ZEPPELIN, I’m also ready to mention Scott along Jimmy Page. He doesn’t make a big noise about himself but just manages to amaze.
What really stood out beautifully to me throughout RIVAL SONS’ set was their ability to switch from different moods to another. Whether it was more in-your-face like “Electric Man” or the almost fragile atmosphere of “Sacred Tongue”, there was no moment when it would’ve felt like the band was compromising on something. The different songs still have a strong connection and a signature left by RIVAL SONS, which leaves no question about who you are listening to at that moment.
I have to play my salute to the audience for making one of my favorite songs “Feral Roots” so special that night. Not only during the song itself but even after it people kept singing the main melody of the verse until Mike Miley rose the tempo to unsingable speed. I’m gonna have to make the cliche statement by claiming that the audience at The Circus was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed.
Overall, the night felt so special it’s hard to make any deep analyzing of it. I’m just going to say, that any fan of classic rock should be aware of RIVAL SONS and THE LAST INTERNATIONALE. And if you already were, I’m very surprised you didn’t attend this experience. Fortunately, at least RIVAL SONS isn’t the rarest visitor in Finland so you should be able to enjoy them later.
Article and photos by Lassi Saarinen
1. End of Forever
2. Wild Animal
3. Pressure and Time
4. Tied Up
5. My Nature
6. Too Bad
7. Where I’ve Been
8. Feral Roots
9. Open My Eyes
10. Electric Man
11. Manifest Destiny, Part 1
12. Shooting Stars
13. Do Your Worst
15. Face of Light / Sacred Tongue
16. Keep on Swinging