At The Point, Sunderland, U.K., August 10, 2015

Fire breathing, lizard tongued KISS bassist recently proclaimed that Rock is dead. Try telling that to the likes of Vintage Trouble, Halestorm and Black Stone Cherry, all firing on all cylinders and all packing out shows where ever they play. Add to that list of sizzling talent, Rival Sons.

Only a couple of years ago Rival Sons were third on the bill to Queensrÿche and Judas Priest but quickly marked themselves down as ones to watch. Extensive touring and a series of increasingly impressive albums have seen their light shine ever brighter with their latest album, Great Western Valkyrie, garnering 5 star reviews in virtually every music paper going.

Rival Sons

In what is an undeniable coup for the local promoter, Rival Sons landed in Sunderland for one of only two shows either side of Scotland’s Belladrum Festival and what a night it was.

Vocalist Jay Buchanan is cut from the same cloth as some of Rocks greats combining the smooth tones of Jim Morrison with the holler of Robert Plant but with enough individuality to give him his own unique identity. Guitarist Scott Holiday cut a fine figure bedecked in shades and Gibson Firebird in hand cranking out some seriously delicious riffs during “Secret” and “Tell Me Something”.

Rival SonsRock bands of old dressed in denim and leather or in the 80’s, spandex and sequins, and that was just the men. Rival Sons look like they’ve stepped off the cover of GQ magazine with sharp suits and finely sculptured facial adornments yet they Rock hard but Rock with a swagger and a deep, deep groove with drummer Mike Miley and bassist Dave Best locked so tightly together that you couldn’t slip of Rizla between them. “Electric Man”, “Good Luck” and “Open My Eyes” were colossal. “Manifest Destiny” and “Torture” developed into sprawling jams that allowed Holiday to spread his wings while “Rich and the Poor” and “Where I’ve Been” showed the depth of quality in their repertoire.

Rock has been written off more times than almost any other music form over the years, yet it has a resilience that sees it continually bouncing back from the underground. With The Point packed out on a Monday night and an incendiary performance by the Californian Rockers proving beyond doubt that far from being dead, Rock is very much alive and kicking.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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