RIVAL SONS – 16.11.2023 – BERGEN
ORGANIZER: Bergen Live
PHOTOGRAPHER: C. Nepper
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American rockers Rival Sons were back at the Forum in Bergen on a dark and cold Thursday night – and what a night it was! If there was any doubt as to who one of the very best bands out there today are, these gentlemen have certainly proved that they are in a class of their own – not merely in terms of the quality of their records but also their live performances.
Witnessing Rival Sons in a live setting is very much about paying close attention to what is going on up there on stage and the many layers and nuances of their magnificent compositions. There is nothing that detracts from the actual music, which is to say that there is nothing that is visually impressive (or distracting if you will) to their show as such – it truly is all about the music to these gentlemen and how to deliver it with a prominent sense of passion, vigor, and haunting beauty. They treated us to an epic 16-track set that ran for nearly 2 hours, and the flow and dynamics of it all were staggering to behold. Their cleverly arranged compositions contain an abundance of light and shade, and with Jay Buchanan’s emotive and heartfelt vocals on top everything simply comes together and reaches a different sphere. You know the kind of riffs and melodies that give you the chills in the positive sense of the word? Yeah, that is what I am talking about here.
While I enjoyed and reveled in each tune that was aired last night, my personal favorites and highlights were the ones from their last two LPs (i.e., Darkfighter and Lightbringer) with ‘Darkside’ and ‘Darkfighter’ being particularly noteworthy as they seemed to reach the stratosphere and sound even more powerful than their studio counterparts do, which is saying something. They also dug into a handful of tracks from the awe-inspiring Feral Roots album, which was a real treat to the eyes and ears. In addition, the sound was exceptionally good where we were seated, and every instrument had a lot of definition to it. The only downside to the event was that the momentum was briefly lost during the drum solo and guitar solo spot but fortunately that was quickly regained.
Although paying homage to some of the greatest and most vital hard rock and classic rock bands and outputs from the seventies, there is a modern edge to what Rival Sons do as well, and Thursday’s gig at the Forum perfectly illustrated what the meaning and significance of the phrase “timeless music” is. If you get the chance then make sure you catch them on one of their upcoming tours.