Rival Sons at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI

Rock and roll revivalists Rival Sons roll into the mighty Motor City to bring their California sunshine for a bangin’ midweek meltdown.

The historic Fillmore of downtown Detroit has been home to thousands of earth-shattering musical events since it’s inception in 1925. The night of October 27, 2021 brought just such a shattering moment to the old Filly as droves of fans pack themselves into the iconic venue, to spend a happy hump day (aka not your typical Wednesday night) with the almighty Rival Sons. This evening was actually a reschedule after the Sons took a 10-day tour pause due to the pandemic to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance. They are back in the D for the first time in nearly two years, and ready to give the fans of Motown a double serving of what they do best… rock and roll!

The stage of the mighty Fillmore has been set for a night of musical memories, as we see guitarist Jeff Holiday’s very noticeable vintage amplifiers stacked high on stage right, and bassist Dave Besty’s monster rig looming in the shadows of stage left. At 9:25pm sharp, Rival Sons take to the historic stage and our night is off and running as drummer Michael Miley breaks the silence by beating the skins to the intro of “All Over the Road.” A dapper-looking Jay Buchanan dressed in a suit and black leather wingtips steps into the spotlight. He approaches the screaming crowd with the majestic waltz and swagger of a Jedi master and belts the first vocals of the night into his microphone. The fans are electrified by his presence and immediately begin to sing along. “Young Love“ is next, followed by “Pressure and Time,“ and “Only One.“ Guitarist Scott Holiday is busting riff after riff on the big beautiful blue Gretsch he is known for while pumping through a massive wall of vintage amplifiers. The Sons dish out an amazing setlist of nearly 20 songs covering their six album, and one EP discography.

They continue with “Get Mine,“ “Burn Down Los Angeles,“ “Save Me,“ and a most powerful version of “Gypsy Heart.“ Bassist Dave Besty and drummer Miley work their groove the entire night and show what a tight powerful rhythm section the Sons have. Together with touring key-master Todd Ogren on stage, they give a huge sound that could tickle your tympanic from the other side of the stadium. “White Noise,“ “Face of Light,“ “Too Bad,“ and a smoking and gritty version of “Open My Eyes.“

Buchanan’s pipes are on point, and he belts out line after line with the guts and the gravy of a master class vocalist. A personal favorite moment transpires as Holiday’s octave pedal is activated and he launches the first notes of “Electric Man“ across the booming sound system of the mighty Fillmore. The crowd is… well electric and join JB to sing the tune in it’s entirety. Next, we have “Jordan,“ followed by a moving acoustic performance of “Shooting Star “by a solo Buchanan. The band returns for “Feral Roots“ and the deep mesmerizing track “All Directions.“ Holiday steps to his massive pedalboard and makes a mystery selection before launching the band forward into the mega-hit “Do Your Worst.“ The Sons bring the night to close with the 19th tune of the evening, the spiritually charged “Keep on Swinging.“

What to expect from a Rival Sons live performance? Pure kick-assery… and a nostalgic trip down to that infamous sugar shack! You will also experience the way that rock ‘n’ roll is meant to grab a hold of you… your heart, your soul, and even right down to your doo-dads. Rival Sons come as a highly recommended and energetic concert experience that will leave you singing along with your memories long after the show has ended and your fancy IPA buzz has worn off. If… you haven’t seen RS live, get “yer lazy bee-hind” out there and get a double dose of old fashion rock ‘n’ roll, and see one of the best sounding live bands in the music scene today. Catch them on tour with many more stops to go, check the band’s official website for event dates.

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About Jay Dunbar 54 Articles
Jay Dunbar is a professional photographer that enjoys wearing a multitude of hats. He is active in the commercial and stock photography arenas and currently owns and operates a Detroit based investigations firm and photography agency. Despite his many endeavors, Jay can frequently be found in attendance at your favorite concert venues, capturing breathtaking images of live performances of many genres of music. A skilled author and photographer, he could be described as a " Serial Music Journalist." Carrying the photo bug for nearly thirty years, Jay enjoys all styles of photography, testing new gear, and helping aspiring photographers, artists and models to develop their skills and learn their craft.