REVIEW: Sunset Sons @ Deaf Institute
This evening was to be a night of firsts, and a night to remember. Coming back to the UK on a two-date sold out intimate tour, I hadn’t long heard of Sunset Sons but I was about to get to know them very quickly. Excitement was well and truly in the air as Mancunians – or those able to get to Manchester – rushed into the venue. Ahead of the show, I had a chat with the (lovely) guys, before I joined in the rushing to catch the whole performance… which also means, the openers. Before the main event, the one support Vistas played their part in what was to be an incredibly memorable night. The Edinburgh natives have that rare, seemingly, endless energy which is craftily combined with a terrifically-tight rock sound – to categorize the guys, they might be well placed somewhere between The Libertines and The Strokes.
Vistas proved to be a top band in their own right; a complete unit capable of packing a punch and getting people moving, an essential trait for any support act. With soaring melodies and thumping beats colliding into a frenzied set of songs – perhaps it might be right to say a little of The Fratellis live in Vistas too. These boys are certainly worth keeping an eye on… though, on second thoughts, you might struggle to because they’re serious movers on stage! Well worth checking out.
Almost exactly on the stroke of 9pm, Sunset Sons came on to screams, whistles and claps in abundance. It was a sell-out event, and people in the Deaf Institute music hall knew exactly what to expect – they’d waited patiently to see this band, for some time now with the album out in 2016. One audience member especially excited was stood next to me, Pete. ‘I first saw them in Madrid, a few years back. Top notch outfit that quickly became one of favourite groups. I’m well excited for this’. As I’d never seen them Sunset Sons live and heard only a small selection of their songs to date, I asked to Pete to try and define them musically. ‘Tough one’, he said. ‘Very versatile, that’s why I love them’, he added. ‘Maybe like Muse, but up. Up. Definitely up a few levels’. Quite some accolade from one pumped fan. When the music started a few seconds later, I knew what Pete meant.
Their sound, to my ears at least, managed to fuse the ethereal with the hard & fast beat of great rock music with frontman Rory also playing keyboard. The hypnotic melodies the band created were backed by a vocal that could raise you to your feet instantly, then drop down to a soothing sea sound, holding you in the moment. Sunset Sons are a seriously talented set of lads, fresh out of the studio having only played London before their final date in Manchester on this extremely-short UK tour. It was clear that the band were hungry for it, being back in the live spotlight, and seemed to love being up there every bit as much as the fans (including me now!) were loving to be in the company of Sunset Sons once more. The atmosphere was festival-like, with happy vibes pinging all around the room – with a keen crowd in attendance it was hard to move, but not so much as to get crushed. Pardon the cheesiness, but the only thing that was crushing in the room was the bass, played by a denim-waist-coated, long-blonde-haired, Pete. He strummed, slapped (and even smacked) his part at times, and masterfully made his bass the forefront of their sound.
After over an hour playing, pretty much non-stop, the Sons left the stage. The crowd screamed for more, and I joined them. This gig wasn’t over yet. The band came back on and played for at least another half an hour, with the gig finishing just after half ten. The humble guys thanked Manchester for a truly memorable night before promising to be back much sooner next time as the lights came on and people began leaving. To that, unsurprisingly, there was a queue for T-shirts. Thankfully Sunset Sons had brought plenty, they must have known knew they’d shift them on such a limited run. I couldn’t resist grabbing one, as a souvenir to what was certainly the best gig that I’ve been to for quite some time. I was sad to leave, but, couldn’t wait top get home and listen to Sunset Sons more.