Rival Sons is currently on the road supporting Black Sabbath on their final tour (appropriately named “The End”), but that doesn’t mean that they have any intention of slowing down their schedule to match the pace of the retiring legends. No sirree! Any spare days in that tour have been filled with headlining gigs, including a Monday night stop at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom.
While the crowd seemed slow to gather … presumably due to the post-Super Bowl hangover … things picked up quickly during opener Mount Holly’s 40 minute set and by the time Rival Sons took the stage at 9:15 sharp, the anticipation in the air was palpable. It was clear that there were few, if any, casual fans in the room and all that anticipation quickly turned to elation with the opening licks of Scott Holiday’s guitar, that exuberance punctuated by pumping fists and plenty of air guitaring. For the uninitiated, jaws were firmly planted to the floor, a result of the sudden blast of power and musicianship demonstrated on Electric Man.
As the band tore through their set, frontman Jay Buchanan was clearly in pain, repeatedly apologizing to the crowd for being sick. But in spite of some real-time changes to the setlist in order to accommodate Jay’s condition, the crowd was sympathetic and that much more appreciative of what the band was able deliver. And when I seemed that Jay was finally done … blammo! … he rallied in a big way with two more songs, the ferocity of which left the crowd dumbfounded.
When the band finally pulled the plug after powering through for an hour, the crowd could not have been happier, even with a truncated set. No complaints, only appreciation. If this is what Rival Sons sounds like when they’re down a man, you can only imagine what they are like when they’re on top of their game. Catch them on the road with Sabbath or, even better, on one of their headlining dates … you won’t be disappointed.
Supporting act: Mount Holly
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