Rival Sons’ Gypsy Heart Brings Their Rock To Belfast – Metal Planet Music


Review by Ivor Whitten for MPM

The sun was still shining as crowds began to build in anticipation as tonight mega rockers Rival Sons with their support act Dirty Honey, an up-and-coming rock band from Los Angles and visiting Belfast for the first time .

Once people started filling the wonderful Limelight, there was a real feeling that tonight was going to be a big night of rock and roll. And it turned out that it was.

The first was the four-member rock and roll team dirty honeywhich many followed as they climbed the rocky ladder and there was already a very large crowd gathered to see them put on a show.

To thunderous applause from Marc LaBelle (vocals), John Notto (guitar), Justin Smolian (bass) and Corey Coverstone (drums) and with a loud “Hello Belfast”, they kicked off with the fast-paced dirty rock and roll” Gypsy” and immediately everyone could tell they were a top notch performance band, as Marc’s undulating voice with a wide range sang the lyrics with a passion that many would be jealous of.

The crowd swayed to the rapid rhythm of drumbeats. The band was serious business with a smooth blues rock twang emanating from John and solid bass from Justin, it was a complete package. Marc struck the tone perfectly when he told the packed audience “It’s Friday night and I can tell you’re ready to Rock and Roll!” which was followed by a huge roar of approval from the crowd.

They continued with ‘Break You’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ all with Marc’s encouraging words ‘C’Mon Belfast’ which really wasn’t necessary as everyone was mesmerized and going wild at the whiskey and rock sound of the stage . They had a real early Aerosmith feel and vibe with their tight choreography, whiskey-infused vocals and dirty blues tones.

The Wire,” “Tied Up,” “California Dreamin’,” and “Another Last Time” kept the crowd on their toes, shaking their heads and swaying like there was no tomorrow. Marc even grabbed the opportunity during the slow and groovy “Another Last Time” to go out into the audience and use the Bar as an improvised stage.

They ended their set with “When I’m Gone” and the high-octane rock and roll song “Rolling 7s”. Wow, what a performance. Dirty Honey are pure rockstars and exhausted the audience by getting all the mental, emotional and physical attention from the crowd. The roof shook in appreciation as they left the stage.

Then the rockers of Long Beach, California Rival sons. Jay Buchanan (Vocal), Scott Holiday (Guitar), Michael Miley (Bass) and Dave Beste (Drums) were joined on stage by Todd Ögren on keyboards. The crowd went crazy to see in front of them the internationally renowned band that has been rocking the world since 2009.

Directly with “All Over the Road” and “Young Love” to the delight of packed Limelight. The heat may have increased, but so did the energy and Rival Sons took advantage of that with ease. The Southern-style affectation of everyone’s relaxed swagger on stage was spellbinding.

The emotional investment Jay was already injecting into his voice early on meant that everyone’s attention was fully on the stage. On “Pressure and Time,” Jay pushed the crowd even further by encouraging them to sing along, and really it didn’t take much encouragement. Lungs were pushed to their limit as the audience sang back to the band.

The crowd was fully invested and there was no escaping. Next up was “Only One” with a minimal pause before a tour de force of melody slam after melody slam pumped from the stage like a mighty juggernaut. “Get Mine,” “Save Me,” “Burn Down Los Angeles,” “Gypsy Heart,” and “White Noise” strung together like heavyweight hitting home with hit after hit and relentlessly.

There was pure chemistry with the band, between them and the audience. It was a night where everyone totally forgot what was outside and everything was focused on the band on stage.

There was a short instrumental from Scot and the rest of the band to help complete the roller coaster of hit after hit before the almost mini set was over and then the first part of the show ended with “Face of Light” and a amazing guitar solo. Scott knew his guitar and handled it like a pure rock god with his fretting skills and presence.

After a very short while, they were back on stage with “Too Bad,” “Open My Eyes,” and Rival Sons favorite and iconic fuzz rock song “Electric Man.” It was just before this hit landed with pure verve and uncompromising rock, Jay noticed an audience member had fallen and came to their rescue making sure they were okay saying “When someone falls, you take care of them”. They may be good old rockstars, but they don’t forget their roots or their fans.

Jay’s powerful voice is something to behold and leaves you wondering how the hell his voice holds up. The power, passion and emotional depth of her voice are simply amazing live. “Jordan”, “Shooting Stars” and the superb “Feral Roots” kept landing the audience in pure rapture filled with joyful rock and roll.

They ended the set with “Do Your Worst” and “Nobody Wants to Die” to euphoric applause from the packed concert hall. The walls shook and the roof shook. Rival Sons delivered a solid performance that left everyone more than happy to have spent their Friday night in the limelight.

All in all, the two bands seemed like the perfect fit to deliver their own version of modern rock immersed in the rhythm and blues of yesteryear to grateful audiences with such ease that they made it all so easy. It was a good old fashioned rock and roll experience not to be missed, with both bands in perfect condition providing a fantastic evening. If you get the chance to see them, take it.

The Roval Sons ‘Pressure and Time’ tour continues across the UK and Europe. Learn more at https://www.rivalsons.com/

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