I still don't understand why I keep hearing the phrase "rock is dead" being thrown around. Rock is not dead. It never has been. It may not always be in the "Top 40" spotlight, but rock naturally doesn't want to be in the top 40 spotlight. Some bands break through into that spotlight every once in awhile, but for the most part, rock and roll is a living, breathing organism that will thrive in whichever environment it is provided, whether that be a musty concert hall, a packed dive bar, or a large-scale arena.
With all of this being said, it's the night before Black Sabbath are set to take the stage in San Jose at the SAP Center. The band have brought along one opener, a blues rock band by the name of Rival Sons. With a day off before the next date with Sabbath, what better way to spend time than playing a headlining show to showcase your own four albums for an hour? Rival Sons' set proves that rock isn't dead, as everyone claims it to be.
Rival Sons are mesmerizing to watch as both musicians and performers. The absolute standout performer of the band, for me, was Jay Buchanan, the vocalist. The band ended up cutting their set a bit short as he was fighting off what I assume was a cold of some kind. The fact that Buchanan could hit the notes in that range with perfection was mind-blowing to me. The band is rounded out by Scott Holiday on guitar, Michael Miley on drums, and Dave Beste on bass (who will be a guest on a For The Record podcast episode that is premiering tomorrow), all fine and talented musicians.
A large bulk of the set material came from the band's most recent studio album, Great Western Valkyrie. Before the show and the podcast interview, I gave each of their four records (and 1 EP) a proper listen, and I find that the material on Valkyrie is without a doubt their strongest to date. It was nice to see a band play to their strengths, in addition to picking from a couple of hits on past records like the self-titled EP and 2012's Head Down.
The band concluded their set, but took their time leaving the stage, bowing to the crowd, handing out drumsticks, and the like. Rival Sons are a band that can stand all on their own, and it was a great pleasure to watch them thrill a nearly-full-house of people on a Monday night.
For more information and music on Rival Sons and their current tour, visit www.facebook.com/rivalsons
This has been another Shameless Promotion.