Rival Sons – May 8th, Danforth Music Hall

A sold-out crowd filled the space, on the main floor and the balcony. With my Media/photo pass in hand, I had, once again, the requisite three songs, no flash, and then stood back to enjoy the show. Introduced to them and their music at CMW in 2015, this is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of watching these five perform and, like a fine scotch, they have aged exceedingly well. Having just come off the Black Sabbath farewell tour and their own European tour, Teatro Fiasco is now being presented in halls and concert theatres across North America before heading back to Europe. Their only Canadian stop….Toronto. The boys in Rival Sons got their Canadian start at Cherry Cola’s as Stevenson was the only bar owner in town who would give them a chance. Without fail, Buchanan gives a shout-out and thank you to Stevenson every time the Sons perform in Toronto. Humble beginnings, a friendship forged, the Sons are now an international sensation….but they never forget.

Their fifth and latest album, Hollow Bones, was released in 2016. Listening to the profound soulfulness and deep gut-wrenching voice of singer Jay Buchanan, I am not surprised he is totally drained after each show. A follower of the Native American Red Road religion, Buchanan originally considered himself more of a folk singer, a troubadour. His pipes have proved otherwise. I haven’t seen or heard passion like that since the blues/rock singers of the ’70s and ’80s. Scott Holiday, who formed the band in 2009 from the remnants of his previous band Black Summer Crush, is both a guitar virtuoso and aficionado as well as a Hare Krishna priest. All five members of this band are key components that fit together beautifully. I even had the pleasure of meeting Holiday, bassist Dave Beste, drummer Mike Miley, and keyboard player Todd Ögren-Brooks after the show. Fantastic show. What a night!!

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