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Rival Sons & Halestorm: at home on The Range

Live Review

Venue: Rock On The Range Festival, Columbus

Two of rock's hottest properties triumph in the Midwest

By 4:00 p.m. on the third and final day of this year’s Rock on the Range festival, a noisy horde, several thousand strong, have gathered in front of the Ernie Ball stage, baking in the sticky Ohio heat as they wait for Rival Sons. We've received word that singer Jay Buchanan has fallen quite ill, but rather than cancel outright, the band have elected to play a shortened set.

They take the stage to a thunderous ovation, diving headlong into the elasticky jangle of Electric Man, and the party is underway. While other artists have attracted curious onlookers — fans of other musical stylings who might not normally attend their show — Rival Sons enjoy massive support here in the American heartland, a fact underscored by the scale and volume of the crowd. 

Behind the bluesy pentatonic mastery of guitarist Scott Holiday on Secret, the band sound exceedingly tight, a siege of rugged licks, bourbon-soaked leads and filthy, hip-shaking tempos. Jay betrays not the slightest hint of incapacity, howling with chest-beating virility and trembling with the eye-rolling fervor of an old-time Southern snake handler.

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