Rival Sons Achieve Rock Epicness at the Fillmore

in SF Concert Reviews by

Long Beach natives Rival Sons played an electrifying set at the Fillmore last night to a crowd that had grown hungry for some real rock n roll music (the Bay Area doesn’t get a lot of it you see.) The fearless foursome with the loud guitars and thunderous drums could not have picked a better venue to host the festivities considering the history of the popular Bay Area venue and the Sons’ strong 60s/70s blues-rock roots.

They kicked off their set with a new track from their latest “Feral Roots,” a heavy-riff-laced song called “Back in the Woods,” which acted as a powerful opener for what was to come. Singer Jay Buchanan’s vocals were spot on throughout the night, a unique mix of power and prowess mixed with raw emotion. Seeing him live can leave you speechless at times.

They quickly jumped into a couple of their biggest singles to date, “Electric Man” and “Pressure and Time.” Two songs which will surely solidify their role in the annals of rock n roll. Guitarist Scott Holiday’s flawless execution on the six-string was a feast for all senses. And can I just say the dude’s got a lot of style? Back on the drumset, Michael Miley held the rhythm section down cold, at times channeling some John Bonham with his flurry of triplets and boomy bass drum sound.

It’s apparent that this band flourishes in the classic rock sound. The Zeppelin riffs and Sabbath grooves are hard to ignore, but Rival Sons have their own sound. It’s one that’s unique yet paying homage to others before them. To hear this type of music at Fillmore felt so right, to the point that you could at times feel the ghostly presence of the other rock giants that stood up on that stage before them.

Photos by Louis Raphael

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.