Rival Sons + The London Souls @ Rock City, Nottingham – Friday 3rd April 2015


Review by Lulu Davenport, photos by Sean Larkin

Breaking their Rock City cherry with their debut visit to the fair city of Nottingham are The London Souls. Hailing from the big apple, the duo consists of guitarist Tash and Chris on drums, with both providing vocal. With a start time of 7.00pm, they are stylishly prompt, as by one minute past the pair are striking out the chords to their  opening track ‘Under Control’. The fusion of funk, big drum rolls and soulful smooth vocal could well have been the idyllic musical love child of Lenny Kravitz and Animal from the Muppets (purely as a compliment for his drumming energy).

The London Souls
The London Souls

I felt the need to be at a festival, bare footed with the sun caressing my face and The London Souls providing the musical background. Their setlist comprises and  promotes songs from their new album, Here Come The Girls. A highlight for me was the album’s debut track ‘When I’m With You’; a beautifully crafted song, addictive with its simplicity of old school melody and songwriting.

Rival Sons
Rival Sons

The Rival Sons arrive on stage to an ever growing audience and start by treating them to ‘Electric Man’. Having been introduced to their music through a friend, this is the track that, for me, sums up The Sons completely; a fitting opening track for the evening. There’s no denying Jay Buchanan’s vocal ability leaves others for dust, performing masterfully like a well travelled, older artist, yet untamed, leaving him room to imitate or change to any style. This ability is the bands biggest strength, as they flirt between genres, plucking elements of jazz, gospel and of course some rock and roll into the mix.

Buchanan darts about the stage as if in a trance, eyes rolled back completely lost and hypnotised in the music. The main drawback of this being that his interaction with the audience is limited. Lead guitarist Scott Holiday looked effortlessly cool dressed in leathers and shades as he enjoyed the appreciative atmosphere the fans were bestowing upon them. The foursome are an effective unit, each providing a tight sounding set, Mike Miley with his precision drumming and Dave Beste providing the deep bass leaving the music sounding like a well oiled beast.

Rival Sons
Rival Sons

Many of the tracks from their new album Great Western Valkyrie, such as ‘Secret’, ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Play the Fool’ are given an airing and all receive an impressive response. Fans of their earlier material weren’t disappointed either with hits from their previous albums Pressure And Time, Head Down and Before The Fire. The night draws to a close with three encore songs; ‘Open My Eyes’, ‘Pressure And Time’ and ‘Keep On Swinging’, leaving fans chanting RIVAL SONS into the night.

Set list:
1. Electric Man
2. Good Luck
3. Play The Fool
4. Secret
5. Manifest Destiny part 1
6. Torture
7. Nava
8. Long As I Can See The Light
9. Burn Down los Angeles
10. The Man Who Wasn’t There
11. White Noise
12. Rich And The Poor
13. Belle Starr
14. Where I’ve Been
15. Tell Me Something
16. Get What’s Coming
17. Open My Eyes
18. Pressure And Time
19. Keep On Swinging

See more of Sean’s photos from the night here