Sunset Sons’ rise to fame has been remarkably quick and has already earned them a headline set at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Their support acts tonight are indie rock group Airways and singer/songwriter Jessarae.
Airways are a tight four-piece unit with foundation-shaking riffs. Their musical unity shows on ‘Ghost Town’ with a phenomenal marching rhythm that gets the audience moving more than most first supports could manage. Sure there’s still a lot of space to be filled, but as they give a rousing rendition of their next single ‘Starting to Spin’ they seize the opportunity of a growing crowd. With a relatively young audience, ‘Listen To Your Friends’ is quite an apt message as well as a great song which precedes BBC Introducing Track of the Week earworm ‘One Foot’. I’d be surprised if they haven’t gained some new fans this evening.
Jessarae, originally from L.A., has been living in London for a year while he writes new material for an upcoming EP. Thankfully he has his band with him; I somewhat doubt going solo would have matched the energy of Airways. There’s some excellent lead guitar work throughout the set but most noticeably on ‘Save A Life’. Jessarae has an impressive vocal range which not only enhances his notable originals, such as ‘Carving Out My Heart’, but also a stunning cover of “Sweet Disposition’. His material is strong and compliments Airways nicely to round-off a fitting support section for Sunset Sons.
The crowd builds to capacity as the time draws near for tonight’s headliners. They take to the stage and kick off their set with ‘Medicine’. A wave of almost tangible excitement surges through the crowd. Without so much as a pause for breath, they follow with ‘Tick Tock’ and fan-favourite ‘She Wants’. What I love about ‘Tick Tock’ is Rob Windram’s lead guitar freedom as he belts out the solo. This is a feature you don’t often see in their music.
Occasionally, Rory Williams will ask us ‘How you doing?!’ and express a hint of sincere disbelief that they are in this landmark venue. But I think we all know they deserve to be here. Sure, life has dealt them a nice hand with their progress so far, but it’s the music that counts.
New single ‘VROL’ is fantastic in the live arena alongside the material that’s got them to where they are. ‘Gold’ and, my personal favourite, ‘September Song’ are powerful in this space. Mind you, with the strength of tonight’s support acts, I actually find Sunset Sons far from being the outright highlight. That’s to the credit of tonight’s supports for giving it their all.
However, nothing is going to contain the excitement of Sunset’s devotees as they call for an encore following ‘Remember’. ‘Lost Company’ and ‘On The Road’ close the evening nicely complete with confetti cannons launching the small strips of white into the air to soak up the palpable enthusiasm.
By Will Hunt
Two incredible support acts
Amazing energy throughout the night
Sunset Sons deliver a great headline set
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