It’s not often you drive four hours for a concert. Such was the case as I snagged my friend, and Unsung Artist, Cameron Jayne. We made the trek from Lexington, KY to one of my favorite venues, 3rd and Lindsley. We arrived early as the venue is also a pretty cool spot to grab a bite to eat. There were four bands on the bill on this night, but there was one we were all there to see. That was California rockers Rival Sons.
I’ve been a fan of Rival Sons for a couple years now and I’ve been looking forward to seeing the band live ever since. The problem has been the fact that the band is true rock and roll and doesn’t meet the standards of today’s bubblegum, formulated pop oriented
crap music that the US is force fed on a daily basis. The UK and Europe fully embrace the band, so touring there more often simply makes more sense. Alas, my day had finally arrived and it was time to Burn Down Los Angeles Nashville.
With the lights low and the anticipation building, the band took the stage to much fanfare. The fans, in what appeared to be a capacity crowd, were ready to show their love to the band. There was no hello. No chest thumping. No frills. The band took their spots and kicked things into high gear with You Want To from their new album Head Down. Which by the way was recorded in Nashville. Let me take a moment to say that the sound at 3rd and Lindsley is fantastic and when the band hit that first note together, it was as if the God of Thunder drop kicked you in the face. It was jaw dropping and truly thunderous. Keeping the energy high, the band ran through Wild Animal and into my personal favorite Rival Sons rock song, Get What’s Coming. This was the song that introduced me to the band and I was certainly not disappointed by their performance of it. With lots of starts and stops within the music, it was amazing to watch the band go from 0-60 and back again with such ease. Playing at full throttle, then back down to a whisper, was awesome to watch and fantastic to experience. The dynamics of the set were amazing up to this point and the roller coaster of momentum continued on through a stirring rendition of Memphis Sun and Torture.
That led into the moment that meant the most to me. The band slowed things down and performed the song Jordan. Which is about losing a loved one and is one of my favorite songs ever written, by anyone. The song means the world to me personally and from the first moment I heard it, I connected with it on a spiritual level. Vocalist Jay Buchanan’s performance was mesmerizing from the moment the music started. Closing his eyes for much of the song and seemingly allowing the music to flow through him like electricity. When he closed his eyes, it was as if he was reliving the moment of whatever the emotion of the lyric. You could feel his pain. His loss and it evoked feelings of my losses as well. It was a moving performance to say the least. The passion Jay delivered was so inspiring, that after the song, I was left feeling as if I too had performed. I was just as mentally exhausted as Jay was. It was simply phenomenal.
Rival Sons performing Jordan in Nashville:
After the emotions pored all over the stage, the set stepped onto the gas again and took us on a reckless ride with the soundtrack of crowd favorites All The Way, Until the Sun Comes Up, Young Love and the massive Pressure and Time. As if using those songs to lift his spirit and perhaps fill their emotional gas tanks, the band brought the set back down in energy to deliver a trifecta of songs that were once again emotionally exhausting. As Jay spoke of his love of family and the struggles of being on the road as a musician, the band played On My Way. Which is essentially a message to his wife and family that he loves them and he’ll be home soon. That led into Manifest Destiny, Part One. Which is about how we as a country, essentially wiped out an entire race to become the United States. The Native Americans were here first, but we became the savages and took their beautiful land from. Killing the majority in the process. The song featured an extended jam session where Jay left the stage for a few moments and allowed the band to be the focal point. Scott Holiday and his fantastic facial hair…errrr slide guitar work enchanted the crowd and took them on a journey they won’t soon forget. As I looked out over the crowd from the balcony, there was not one patron, including the ones seated, not swaying their head, or throwing their horns or dancing. It was a sight to behold. The third number of the trifecta was Face of Light. Which Jay dedicates to his son at every show. If you’re a parent, you’ll certainly understand the inspiration behind the dedication of the song and you’ll completely grasp why the emotions were so intense in his performance. That song ended the main set.
After a brief break, drummer Michael Miley took to the stage to play a drum solo, soon joined by the newest member of the band, Dave Beste. Dave is an extremely solid addition to the lineup. He plays with such an ease and a coolness about him. He also sings some fantastic backing vocals. The band certainly seemed happy to have him and they definitely haven’t missed a beat since the departure of Robin Everhart. They brought the energy back with Burn Down Los Angeles and ended the set with Soul. Leaving every ounce of their being on that stage. The effort and spot-on performance made this much more than a concert. It made it an experience and created a moment that I’ll have with me my entire life. If Rival Sons comes anywhere close to you, make your way there and experience what real music is like. Go have yourself an experience with music that can connect with you on levels you may have never experienced. Rock and roll is alive and well. I am a witness.
Click here for Rival Sons tour dates.