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Rival Sons/Dirty Honey –

O2 Academy, Sheffield, Tuesday 28th June, 2022

Well it actually makes a change to come this venue and it not be part of a weekender, for tonight, it's 2 bands we are here to see. One for the 1st time and the other will be my 3rd occasion.

Set List: Gypsy/Break You/Heartbreaker/The Wire/Tied Up/California Dreamin'/Another Last Time/When I'm Gone/Rolling 7s.

Well I've heard a bit about these as one or two folk were raving about how good they are but hearing and seeing is always believing: how right they were too. A fabulous young bunch who gave it all they had who fully dressed for the occasion too like it was the decadence of the early to mid 70's – back when folk made an effort to look good on stage like it was simply a natural thing to do.

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Plenty of Y'all talk in-between songs so you'd be fooled by thinking they emerged from the south but actually came out of Los Angeles, California and made up of Marc LaBelle (Lead Vocals), John Notto (Guitar), Justin Smolian (Bass Guitar) & Corey Coverstone (Drums).

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They really rev up the well-packed crowd in here tonight with a sound and style that's somewhere close (but not limited) to The Black Crowes, The Answer, Rival Sons, Free, Bad Company, Thunder and much more... So you may assume they came out of nowhere and emerged as the next best thing in Rock 'N' Roll but they've been together a good five years and evolved from a previous outfit going by the name of Ground Zero.

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Already notching up a variety of prestigious supports with legends like Kiss, Slash, Guns 'N' Roses and The Who, they are are no strangers to making folk take notice while they are on stage which is no doubt why they totally make it their own and giving the headliners tonight a major run for their money.

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Gutsy swagger and flamboyance is where it's definitely at with these boys who already have an EP and full album under their belt, pumping the room with powerful, up-tempo gutsy songs like the opening Rock 'N' Roll of 'Gypsy' and refusing to come down for a second by relentlessly supplying us with gutsy blasts of greatness like such as the follow-up that is 'Break You' with its screaming guitar solo to die for.

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Or what about the stonking that has us walking 'The Wire'; 'Tied Up' that has you breaking out dancing with its sexy groove and that bass... oh yes..... or the sleazy 'n' slick Whitesnake like 'California Dreamin' that's a pure groin stirring piece of greatness with banshee high vocals and rollicking riffs in high abundance.

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Another stand-out is 'Another Last Time' - a silky, hard rock ballad that will give the likes of Rod Stewart a run for his money and sees Marc doing in the photopit singing directly to fans in the front row. 'Rolling 7s' is sadly the last song from them tonight which completely leaves the people of Sheffield wanting way more which has a soaring solo in there and some killer larynx action from Mr. Labelle!

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I am expecting big things from these guys who have really put their work in over the last few years – you can seriously see them on the bigger stages in not too distant a time. They've totally got what it takes... I just hope they don't burn themselves out in the meantime.

Set List: Intro/All Over The Road/Young Love/Pressure And Time/Only One/Get Mine/Save Me/Burn Down Los Angeles/Gypsy Heart/White Noise/Face Of Light... Intermission... Too Bad/Open My Eyes/Electric Man/Jordan/Shooting Stars/Feral Roots/Do Your Worst/Nobody Wants To Die.

Is it really 10 years since the 'Pressure & Time' album came out?? Where have the years gone since I was here the first time around, Anyway, as a celebration we literally get to hear the entire album warts 'n' all, so you can relive all your favourite parts including the lesser heard material too.

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The whole community of fans in Steel City were riotously revved up for Rival Sons and when the boys hit the stage they delivered magnificently with their pristine prowess, perfect performance and joyful almost clinical renditions of songs from that revered 2012 album with opening track 'All Over The Road' of course starting the show.

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This went into the pychedelic 60's bluesiness of 'Young Love' that reminds of The Doors in battle with the likes of MC5 and Led Zeppelin that gave way to that luscious hip swirling title track 'Pressure & Time' with that moment of audience charged greatness in an epic singalong and then chilled it down the line with 'Only One'.

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There's more fan participation in that gem called 'Burn Down Los Angeles' not too further on in the set with that 1st section of the show concluding on the beautiful power-ballad 'Face Of Light' that has an almost Harrison graciousness to it in choice parts and a killer solo from Scott present in the latter part of the song as well as his fine slide-work that'd make Ronnie 'n' Keith nod and smile warmly to that's nailed off nicely via the compliments of Jay's vocal chops.

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It's incredible how Jay Buchanan pushes the envelope vocally and emanates a full-rounded Paul Rodgers kinda voice with true American tones alongside those guitar riffs of Scott Holiday who hones those primal electrifying grooves that fill the academy with those keys of Todd Ogren adding to that fat plus the mind-blowing long beard, not to mention that second to none rhythm section of Bassist, David Beste and Drummer, Mike Miley.

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The second part of the show featured a wonderful mass of numbers from other albums that included the dark but decadently riffed 'Open My Eyes' that reminds me of 'Your Time Is Gonna Come' & 'The Ocean' by a rather famous Brummy band,

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We got some astounding Acoustic towards the end where Jay is alone giving us 'Shooting Stars' that he dedicated to the Ukraine and those people fighting where the lyrics have never been more relevant and completely prominent. “My Love Is Stronger Than Yours”. A very moving moment with everyone in here becoming an firm strong unison the way it should be which really showed in the passionate singing here tonight in the academy both on and off-stage .

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This after mass applause goes into some long drawn out blues during 'Feral Roots' that never seemed to end but went over really well regardless and not too far on the dark, devilish and dangerous 'Do Your Worst'.

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They even went one further, pulling away any safety net and unveiled a brand new song to us that was a piping number with elements of 'Whole Lotta Love' & 'Come Together' mixed in with a throbbing style of their own – now how many bands do that these days? Most close a show on a well-known safe cut – not these guys, And guess what, we f*ck*n' loved every second of it!

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We await a barnstormer of a new album if that last track is anything to go on. Here's to the next UK Tour too!!

By Glenn Milligan

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