Live: Sunset Sons @ Koko

Surf and snow bums beware, if you’re hanging out playing some live shows in your local bar, you could just end up in a mega explosive rock band. That’s the dream right? And for Hossegor, France-based Anglo-Australian four-piece Sunset Sons, it just became a reality.

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

The story is one you couldn’t make up. Guy walks into a surf bar (the guy in this story was drummer Jed Laidlaw), catches dishwasher singing (dishwasher = frontman Rory Williams), the pair get chatting and decide to head to the trendy Espace Killy ski area, which encompasses the resorts of Tignes & Val d’Isere, along with pals Rob Windram (guitar) and Pete Harper (bass) and start a covers band.

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

And if you were lucky enough to catch The Cheerleaders, as they were then known, you’d have been in for a raucous treat of cover versions of everything from Coldplay and Queens Of The Stone Age songs to tracks from Kanye West and D12. The quartet then started writing their own material and were soon signed to Polydor and supporting Las Vegans Imagine Dragons on their sophomore record arena tour!

Rob Windram of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Rob Windram of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Last week saw the release of debut album Very Rarely Say Die, a masterstroke of upbeat rock laced with light surf undertones while staying clearly away from Beach Boys territory and tonight they headlined North London’s 2,500-capacity Koko venue, the show selling out out ahead of their debut album’s release.

Jed Laidlaw & Pete Harper of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Jed Laidlaw & Pete Harper of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Kicking off with Very Rarely opener Know My Name, the quartet dove straight into their energetic show, Windram and Harper moving about the stage while Williams stayed put behind keys and his microphone.

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Non-album track Medicine has the hard-core fans in the crowd audibly singing along next. “It’s gonna be a good night London” said Williams during the song, spurring on the warming crowd. The very hooky, sing-along September Song followed, bursts of “Hang on, it’s not over” being repeated by the 2,500-strong crowd.

Pete Harper of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Pete Harper of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

“How are we doing London, you good? Well, you turned up didn’t you?” the 26-year-old frontman jested. “I hope you know this song so you can sing along” he continued, encouraging the crowd to join him for debut album track She Wants.

Fall Line EP cut Blondie was up next followed by another Very Rarely sing-along anthem Gold, it finally clocking with me just how huge this band will be as soon as they start tearing up festival stages over the summer.

Jed Laidlaw of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Jed Laidlaw of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

“I’m having a lot of fun, are you guys having fun?” Williams asked his audience to cheers. “This is Koko, this is fucking insane!” he continued staring out at packed out tiers of the multi-level venue. “This is our new single”, he said before the band launched into Somewhere Maybe.

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Introducing Lost Company, the Dorset-native frontman said “When you write songs, you don’t expect to play to so many people and for people to respond this way” before telling the crowd the song was about his father. The extended delicate opening bars of standout track Remember had the crowd singing along with Williams’ keyboard playing long before he chimed in with lyrics.

Pete Harper of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Pete Harper of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Following a brief departure, as is customary, Williams returned to the North London stage. “We’re not done yet London, we’re not done yet” the frontman bellowed as he returned solo and played the opening bars Very Rarely track I Can’t Wait, the rest of the band joining him to up the tempo and volume a short while into the song.

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

While Williams’ vocals do ring similarities with Kings Of Leon frontman Caleb Followill, especially on set closer On The Road, they come through much clearer and the summery feel to Sunset Sons’ material is distinctively different to the Nashville band.

The quartet also bring a fun energy to their live show which adds that extra dimension to their already well-crafted and growing repertoire of material. Expect big things from these guys over the coming months and years.

L-R: Jed Laidlaw, Pete Harper & Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

L-R: Jed Laidlaw, Pete Harper & Rory Williams of Sunset Sons (Kalpesh Patel)

Sunset Sons round out their UK tour with stops in Bournemouth and Bristol before embarking on an extensive European tour.

Live review of Sunset Sons @ Koko by Kalpesh Patel on 6th April 2016.

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Kalpesh has more music photography up on his flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate

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