Right, we can’t be too coy here - this was a fabulous pair of rock performances. Classic rock performances of the freshest kind, and testament to two contemporary acts (The Temperance Movement and Rival Sons) reaching new levels of sophistication in their respective careers. And watching them both, you get the feeling that they could keep knocking out this quality stuff all day. Maybe even just hitting their strides...
Download 2014: Rival Sons & The Temperance Movement
Two class acts in 21st century rock n’ roll played at Download 2014. And it was good.
Swinging into sunny Donington midway through their Rolling Stones support dates, part-Scottish part-Aussie part-Laandon rock n’ rollers The Temperance Movement are in a good musical place. And clearly relishing the ever-more-massive audiences, as this afternoon’s performance suggests. All members look at ease in front of the merry, sun-baked crowd. Vocalist Phil Campbell, already bestowed with some of the campest moves in modern rock, seems to have furthered his jagged style - to the point where he looks a little like a chicken with a lot of volts charging through him. When he sings with such beguiling Rod Stewart-tinged gravel and oomph, however, it all becomes part of his appeal.
New material is reassuringly good, and the likes of Take It Back morph from just tight melodic numbers into colourful, loosened-up rock n’ roll giants - real ‘performances’ in other words, where groovy ad-libbing is warmly welcome. Californian sun practically beams out of Paul Sayer’s guitar lines in the lovely Pride, spiralling into stonking closer Midnight Black. Well done boys, bloody well done. (9)
Continuing the sun-soaked spirit are actual Californians Rival Sons, continuing where TTM left off with a stellar Electric Man, again spearheaded by a hell of a voice - and corrr what a voice Jay Buchanan has. Sexy, a bit demonic and very chic. This is the kind of set you want to see after dark, with a big light show. The new tracks (from latest LP Great Western Valkyrie) especially travel today through whole eras in rock - from sunny 60s elements through hardened 70s Zeppelin-esque notes and modern, individual character.
So yes, Great Western Valkyrie is fresh, stylish and, in the words of CR scribe Max Bell, “densely packed with greatness”. And apparently we’re not the only people who think so; the record has officially broken the Top 10. “That gives me faith that there’s hope for rock n’ roll” quoth Jay, after announcing this. OK, you can’t accuse the man of false modesty, but his ‘faith’ is amply justified.
And of course let’s not forget what a killer spread of ‘winners’ they already had in the bag prior to this. Torture, for instance, sounds marvellous today, as does the (appropriately swinging) Keep On Swinging.
First-rate, groovy and rocking - the stuff of rock lovers’ very good days. (9) (PG)