Live Review: Sunset Sons - Jimmys, Manchester 25/06/2019
Sunset Sons, along with the help of Natural Mystery Museum took to Jimmy’s Bar in Manchester this week.
The recently uncaged Natural Mystery Museum opened the evening in a warm but hospitable Jimmy’s Bar in Manchester. Opening song and their first released single, ‘Dead Friends’ was a spritely start. Their dark lyrics and grunge rock had a distinct sound. Despite the small crowd, the band shyly made their way through their set. ‘Sixes and Sevens’ was another atmospheric track, while ‘Give Up the Ghost’ provided a more melodic, groovy side to the 3 piece. ‘If I (Could Lie)’ from Volume 0 - EP released on 28th June, was a slower track to begin, but gradually progressed into a frenzy. Stand out track ‘We Don’t Speak Any More’ provided a truly anthemic rock song, and one to keep an ear out for in future. By the final track ‘Salt the Earth’, the crowd had grown and warmed to them. For a new band, the trio provided a tight performance to be pleased with.
The Northern Quarter was then treated to the long-awaited return of Sunset Sons. Manchester snapped up Sunset Sons tickets faster than any gig ever to be held at Jimmy’s. Anticipation for this show, their first headline show in Manchester for nearly a year, served to bring the best out of the band. The last headline show was in support of 4 track The River EP released in July 2018. Nearly one year on, and the Anglo-Aussie 3 piece are ramping up their live show ready for the release of album 2, due later with a full UK and European tour late in 2019.
Beginning boldly with an unreleased song ‘Eyes Wide Open’, Sunset Sons began hurtling through their set with more familiar tracks ‘Bring the Bright Lights’ and fan-favourite ‘She Wants’. The atmosphere was immense. Few things beat a good Manchester crowd in the mood, with each lyric buoyantly sung back. ‘Medicine’, an early EP cut, kept the tempo flying.
Touring with Nothing But Thieves and Imagine Dragons has improved their verve and live performances enormously. Their confidence has grown and their stage presence reflected that. New release and first single for album 2, ‘Problems’ was next. Drummer Jed Laidlaw kept the beat reliably on lock all evening, with bassist Pete Harper rocking out with his instantly recognisable long, blonde hair and touring performer Henry Eastham steady on guitar.
Treated to more unreleased songs ‘Heroes’ and ‘Superman’, the boys showed versatility and dynamism to mix it up, but always delivering. ‘Say Hi’, the second single from album 2 boisterously began with a call and repeat, then delved into a note-perfect rendition. ‘“Say Hi’ is about getting to a place in life that’s fulfilling and real. Finding your happy place and seeing the real picture, rather than surrounding yourself with fake people.’
Running Man reflects the journey of the band, Rory Williams explaining that its about ‘sticking to our guns even if everyone around you thinks you’re mental.’ With roaring guitar riffs and a fast paced, major key style, the fans were quick to clap and dance along. ‘The River’ is about struggle and suffering, but staying strong in the face of adversity. The song was delivered with passion and purpose, and has become a staple of their live show.
Taking the time to address the crowd, Rory spoke about not taking any of this for granted. Being away for months on end, writing and recording lots of new music, but returning to sold out gigs clearly meant a lot to the band. ‘Thank you for being so patient, we have a lot of love for you guys. It’s been a pleasure Manchester’. The leadman then gave a spine-tingling performance of ‘Dance Your Life Away’. His vocal prowess was clear for all to hear. Down to just his trusty keyboard and occasional electric guitar notes, Rory emotionally belted each lyric with soul and meaning.
The stamina to perform in such heat and relentless pace was impressive. Final songs ‘Somewhere Maybe’ and the euphoric ‘On The Road’ reminded everyone just what they’re best at. Creating an exciting atmosphere, loud sing-alongs to their catchy rock and roll anthems while punctuating their live set with powerful, emotional moments give Sunset Sons a potent formula for success moving forward.
Words and Photography by Matthew Swallow