California based rockers Rival Sons have been coming to the UK for many years. And whilst they might not have witnessed the overnight success as say artists such as classic rock peers Greta Van Fleet the band has been steadily growing their fan base over this time.

Now on this their third visit to the UK this year, frontman Jay Buchanan thanks those that have been there since the beginning. Tonight’s Liverpool city centre venue is so full that some patrons can only but look into the room from the wings.

Taking to the stage in front of this gargantuan and welcoming crowd the group opens the proceedings with End of Forever from their latest record, which is followed by a brace of Son’s classics in the shape of Secret along with Pressure and Time. The band delivering the strongest opening possible at the top of the show.

Rival Sons are in the form of their lives. And as they settle into their set they really spread out, which in turn allows the songs to evolve and develop from the original recordings. A ferocious solo from powerhouse drummer Mike Miley along with an acoustic jam sits nicely in between My Nature and Look Away. Whilst Too Bad is simply Too Good.

Rival Sons have so much more to offer than fuzz fuelled classic rock numbers such as the latter. And its tracks such as poetic ballad Where I’ve Been, that is a testament to this.

One thing that is apparent this evening is the just how locked into the show the fans are. On at least two occasions during the set, the crowd continue to sing on for several minutes after the band has finished. This is particularly apparent during a majestic rendition of Feral Roots.

As the set ebbs and flows, Rival Sons brings the tempo back up with a pair of back to back crowd-pleasers in the shape of Open My Eyes and Electric Man.

We are presently living in troubling times, with the division within society being present on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite this one thing which can unite people is music. And Rival Sons latest single Shooting Stars is the perfect song for us all to ‘Come Together’ – to coin a phrase by the city’s most iconic quartet.

During the aforementioned track and many others, the audience sounds like a match day crowd at nearby Anfield – they sing so passionately at the tops of their voices. This evening’s sold-out show is a testament to the fact that Rival Sons have outgrown venues of this size – surely an arena tour must beckon?

The beauty of this impressive triple bill is not only the headliners but also the undercard. Grammy-nominated US-based outfit The Record Company make their eagerly anticipated return to the UK, as special guests on this run. Having previously opened for Blackberry Smoke several years prior, their reputation proceeds them, with the band being a big draw for many in attendance.

Frontman Chris Vos takes to the stage grasping a clutch microphone as the band goes to the task in hand. They instantly win over the Liverpool crowd to the sounds of On The Move and Baby I’m Broken. And whilst The Movie Song sounds huge old favourite Rita Mae Young immediately has the crowd clapping along from the off.

Just like their touring counterparts, the US-based outfit is built on a solid foundation of the roots, blues and rock and roll. And with its infectious groove, and harp infused melody tracks such as Give It Back To You are the perfect example of contemporary blues-rock at its best.

Before we know it the band’s short but sweet set is over, as they finish with I’m Getting Better (And I’m Feeling It Right Now). But we doubt this will be the last we see of the LA-based outfit. The Record Company certainly makes their mark in Liverpool whilst simultaneously proving to be the perfect precursor to Rival Sons. The band’s new special edition LP Early Songs and Rarities is set for release on November 29th via Snakefarm Records.

After a turbulent time that included being dropped by their label Epic, along with personal and financial woes, opening band The Last Internationale takes to the stage with a point to prove. However, the challenge tonight is that they have only got just under 25 minutes to do it in.

Opening their set with a blistering rendition of Killing Fields immediately shows that they mean business. And whilst their songs do indeed rock, the band has certainly got something to say particularly with tracks such as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Indian Blood. Whereas set-closer Hard Times is performed with the type of passion, intensity and honesty that you only get from enduring the difficult challenges that life has to throw at you.

Of course, it’s never easy being the first band of the night, especially with such an early start time as 7.10 pm but this did not seem to phase the New York-based outfit one bit. Let’s hope from here on, it’s onwards and upwards for The Last Internationale.


About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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