Rival Sons – Limelight Belfast 21/01/17

Rival Sons – Photo from 03/12/2015

Rival Sons’ Belfast debut comes eight years into their career. Playing their own headline shows in between support slots with Black Sabbath, tonight it’s Belfast’s turn. Its an early show with no support, presumably for logistical reasons as they are due in Manchester the following day. The venue is a little sparse with punters however with fifteen minutes to stage time it has filled up to near capacity.
Coming on stage to the strains of Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ they open up with the powerhouse that is ‘Hollow Bones Pt1’ to great reception. ‘Tied Up’ follows swiftly after and they have won the crowd immediately. By the time we reach ‘Torture’ the audience are in full flow demonstrating Belfast’s live reputation. Rival Sons seem genuinely stunned by the reception. The crowd reprises the whoa vocal long after the song ends, it feels like an encore moment.

It is always a pleasure to watch real musicianship. As a result it adds a real depth to the live setup, helping the band turn on a thread and vary their tempo and feel. These guys know how to work and interact intuitively, there is not one bass line, riff, vocal or drum beat that is not fully intended. The rhythm section play out of their skins on ‘Tell Me Something’ with Scott Holiday’s guitar overlay nailing every note. Jay Buchanan dedicates ‘Face of Light’ to his son back home, the main set ends with ‘Open My Eyes’.

Mike Miley’s drum interlude really showcases his skills and the band return with a treat. Prior to tonight, ‘Hollow Bones Pt2’, has had few live outings. Its incluson feels like the band’s gift to Belfast, with an almost shaman like delivery through its final third. The gig ends on a high with ‘Keep on Swinging’ with the crowd and band alike exchanging thanks and energy. Fantastic gig, full of passion and rock n roll the way it was meant to be played. If you get the chance to see these guys live, go do it.

Set List

  1. Hollow Bones Pt1
  2. Tied Up
  3. Electric Man
  4. Secret
  5. Pressure and Time
  6. Belle Starr
  7. Jordan
  8. Torture
  9. Fade Out
  10. Tell Me Something
  11. Face The Light
  12. Open My Eyes
  13. HollowBones Pt2
  14. Keep On Swinging




About David McMurray