Sunset Sons are one of those bands that you can only truly appreciate when you see them live. With their debut album ‘Very Rarely Say Die’ coming out next week, they have just embarked on a mammoth tour which will see them play all over the UK and Europe. It’s an album full of catchy pop melodies and singalong moments aching to be played in front of massive crowds at big festivals and venues. For now though, they have to stick to the 900 capacity QMU, where they win over a typically rowdy Glasgow audience with a storming performance.
They kick things off with the album opener ‘Know My Name’, a good introduction to the new material with those ominous guitar riffs fading in and out over heavy keys galloping towards a huge chorus. Following this comes the first big singalong of the night with the popular ‘Medicine’.
Running at about an hour long, the setlist contains a mix of older material from previous EP releases and new songs from the forthcoming album, each greeted with a huge appreciative roar from the crowd. For a band who have yet to release a full record, it is impressive just how many songs people do know and singalong to. Easily the most popular is ‘She Wants’; hands are thrown in the air and we are treated to the first “Here we f*cking go” of the evening, Glasgow’s way of saying ‘we love you’. It’s a chant which crops up a few more times throughout the gig, with frontman Rory Williams often orchestrating from the stage.
Williams elevates the band’s sound more than anything else with his distinctive husky growl, sounding just as good as on record. He is a likeable frontman, not burdened with the arrogance of many other modern day rock stars. If not thumping on his keyboard or battering his tambourine, he is roaming around the stage with the mic stand or down at the front with the crowd, at one point even managing to grab a gulp of someone’s Tennents. Expressing his love for the city a number of times, it is clear that he is having a great time and this energy feeds into the crowd.
The band’s style, seismic verse leading to epic chorus, is one designed to fill arenas so inevitably their sound is far more effective live than on record. Everything is bigger and louder, allowing for a greater appreciation of the band’s musicianship, particularly the strong basslines from Pete Harper and deft guitar-work from Robin Windram. Breaking free from the confines of the record, they are prone to extended outros and enjoyable jam sessions, successfully using them to crank up the atmosphere in the room. Inevitably though, the stadium rock sound can verge on formulaic, particularly towards the end of the main set when a change of pace would be appreciated. However, following a couple of forgettable tracks, things pick up again with the brilliant ‘Somewhere Maybe’ and a rousing rendition of ‘Remember’.
Following the crowd’s demands for more, the band return for an extended encore which finishes with the uplifting, rather Mumford and Sons-esque ‘On the Road’. It may be nothing you haven’t seen before but it’s a fun night and not one person leaves the venue without a smile on their face.
This Sunset Sons review was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse. Photo by chadrawsterne.wix.com/photo