No Rivals

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Rival Sons headlining the Crabbies Hothouse stage at Belladrum 2015, 08/8/2015. A review.

Rival Sons 3 200x300 - No Rivals
Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons

So while over on the main stage the Kaiser Chiefs were predicting riots and singing about some lass called Ruby, those of us who had made the trek down at the Hothouse Stage were treated to a virtuoso rock performance by Rival Sons.

The Californian band had some stiff competition over in the garden, but there were enough Bella punters whose passion for a proper slab of classic rock meant that there was a healthy sized crowd to see them firm up their reputation as being one of the best live rock acts on the touring circuit.

Word to the wise Kanye, if you want to see ‘the greatest living rock star on the planet’ you could do worse than play very close attention to charismatic lead singer Jay Buchanan ply his craft on stage. The man’s vocal range is astonishing and you can see why one Jimmy Page holds them in such high regard.

The band are a bit Zeppelin-esque and Buchanan could certainly give Plant a run for his money. Much like the Temperance Movement last year on the same stage, this isn’t a one man show; Scott Holiday on guitar, Michael Miley on drums and Dave Beste on bass all contribute to the wall of southern rock that drenches us.

This feels like a proper classic rock performance too, we get audience woah-woah participation, there’s an ear bleeding guitar solo and of course a drum solo. It’s really not a proper rock gig without a drum solo. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re part of the furniture.

They pack a lot into the hour, a significant amount of songs from their last album ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ are aired, ‘Where I’ve Been’ is a poignant track about self-forgiveness and ‘Electric Man’ threatens to blow out eardrums while ‘Open My Eyes’ breaks any lingering inhibitions to get the majority of Hothouse punters dancing.

Buchanan further ingratiates himself to the audience by telling us that he’s getting a kilt made in Glasgow for his wedding next month. He also noted that when he had the chance to have a walk round the festival site he was taken aback by the chilled out atmosphere, “everyone has a smile on their face and there are no knuckleheads”. A testament to the organisers and of course the festival-goers who make Bella what it is.

The rest of the set continues apace and the only grumble from me (and it’s one I’ve aired before) is that an hour just isn’t enough time for a headline act. Especially for one that has four albums of material to play from.

The Kaiser Whats?

Make sure you check out our Belladrum 2015 page for all the news and reviews of what’s happening at the festival.

Still in the mood for a festival then check out the forthcoming North Hop festival featuring the best beer, gin and local music in the area.

A notefrom the editor

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Toby Stainton
Toby Stainton
I've always loved music and spent my late teens and early twenties playing guitar in various bands on Lewis and Aberdeen. Other than playing in some truly terrifying pubs in Aberdeen not much came of it and life became focused on family and having a 'proper' job. Inverness Gigs is an outlet for me to quell my inner frustrated musician and the caliber of local acts has even inspired me to take my own music more seriously again. Who knows, one day I might venture back on stage under the fierce scrutiny of an Inverness Gigs reviewer! You can contact Toby direct at

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