Rival Sons, currently on tour with The Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, and Interpol, took a break from their busy schedule to deliver a headline show at XL Live in Harrisburg, PA, on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 with special support from Myron Elkins.
Emerging from the quaint town of Otsego, Michigan, Myron Elkins, once a welder, found himself in the spotlight as he opened the show for Rival Sons. With a unique concoction of Southern rock, country-funk, and soul, Elkins is swiftly cementing his place in the Americana music landscape. His debut album, Factories, Farms & Amphetamines, was released in 2023 and features ten tracks that showcase his sharp observations and rich personal experiences. During his performance, Elkins played a mix of songs from his debut album, including “Nashville Money,” which features shades of Tony Joe White’s swampy country-funk. Elkins’ musical style and soulful vocals set the tone for a captivating night of music.
Drawing inspiration from his blue-collar roots and a passion for vintage soul tunes, Myron describes his sound as “greasy, chicken-fried country-rock.” This unique flavor has garnered acclaim, with outlets like Holler Country spotlighting him as their ‘New Artist of the Week.’ The reception at XL Live spoke volumes of his craft and dedication, leaving an indelible mark on the attendees. Fans and critics alike are eagerly awaiting more melodies from this promising beacon in the Americana realm.
The Long Beach, California-formed Rival Sons hit the stage next with a powerful performance that showcased their unique blues-rock sound, inspired by the greats of the ’60s and ’70s. Their performance kicked off with “Mirrors,” a track from their recently released Darkfighter album. This fresh opener was immediately followed by fan favorite “Do Your Worst,” a track from their 2019 album Feral Roots. Right from the outset, Jay Buchanan’s vocals showcased a power that remained undiminished as the night unfolded.
Having their roots in Long Beach, California since 2008, this Grammy-nominated quartet has skillfully crafted a sound that echoes the legendary rock and blues vibes of years prior. That evening in Harrisburg was filled with Darkfighter’s melodies, with three songs from the album gracing the setlist. They beautifully interlaced these tracks with selections spanning their extensive discography.
The band wasn’t just about Jay. Scott Holiday’s guitar solos rang out pure and true, and his collection of guitars for each song added layers to their multifaceted sound. Bassist Dave Beste and drummer Michael Miley, true to form, laid down rhythms that were nothing short of rock-solid. A personal standout for many, including me, was the evocative “Feral Roots.” The song blends acoustic and rootsy flavors into the mix, adding rustic touches to the band’s hard rock sound. According to frontman Jay Buchanan, the song’s particular tone and ethos reflect a return to his feral roots in life, understanding the wild nature that is still within us, culturally and as true humans, no matter how far out of the woods we get.
Reflecting on Rival Sons’ 15-song set, it was clear they offered a comprehensive lesson in musical flair, rhythm, and impeccable live showmanship. Given they have seven albums in their repertoire and with an eighth on the horizon, Rival Sons undeniably stand as torchbearers, ensuring that rock and roll thrives in this era.