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RIVAL SONS - NX, Newcastle 14.10.2023

Wasting no time at all Rival Sons blast into the set with two swaggering gems from their recent release 'Darkfighter', both 'Mirrors' and 'Nobody Wants To Die' are instant classic Sons with a fuzzed out groove in the former and a total earworm of a riff and chorus to the latter. And just like that we’re off and running and the packed NX is eager to welcome the guys back to Newcastle after a few years absence.

The barefoot Jay Buchanan enthralls the crowd twisting and turning across the stage every inch a rock star but also able to deliver the goods with a vocal display second to none even though he claims at one point he’s feeling the strains yet hits every note, every scream perfectly!

Scott Holiday is still one of the coolest guitarists out there looking sharp as f, and belting out the fuzz of 'Do Your Worst' and the fantastic 'Electric Man' like it was nothing.

The band are the best I’ve seen them yet tonight, they’re so tight with Dave Beste and Mike Miley holding down the bass and drum duties brilliantly a total powerhouse of a rhythm section.

But it’s Jays voice that pretty much steals the night for me personally especially when they visit the 'Head Down' album for a breathtaking version of 'Jordan' where he absolutely shone like the star he is.

Not only are they high lighting recent release 'Darkfighter' but also the upcoming 'Lightbringer' which will be out during this run of shows and we are given previews of the Holiday riff led 'Mercy and Mosaic' a beautiful almost Zeppelinish ballad with Jay and Scott sharing starring roles.

It’s rare to go to a gig where when the tunes from the new albums are announced the crowd are as excited as they are for old classics but tonight the 6 from 'Darkfighter' and 2 from 'Lightbringer' are treated like they’ve been in the set forever the crowd love them!

Obviously the likes of 'Torture', 'Open My Eyes' and 'Feral Roots' are met with a deafening cheer but throughout the night there’s no let up from the crowd and it’s not surprising as whether it’s a full rock out or the soulful rendition of 'Face of Light' (featuring a glorious extended guitar solo) this is a band on top of their game and getting better by the minute.

Jay expresses the band’s gratitude to their fans for allowing them to do this for a living and how they’ll never take it for granted … yeah it’s something we hear at many gigs but there’s something about Mr Buchanan you just know he is genuine and means it and similarly instead of a lengthy diatribe his simple phrase of “children have no place in war“ was as powerful as any political broadcast.

There’s many a “dust in the eye” moment as the crowd helps out on 'Shooting Stars' before the band return to 'Great Western Valkyrie' for a rousing version of 'Secret' closing the night perfectly.

It may have been a few years since Rival Sons last played here but tonight’s performance will be remembered for longer.

Photos & Review - G's Gig Shots


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