Livestream Los Angeles, CA
Players: Robyn August, lead vocals; Spencer Kent, guitar and vocals; Jason Friday, bass and vocals; Greg Fulleman, drums
Material: Uptempo rock & roll, with strong hooks, tasteful guitar work and stellar vocal harmonies, is the order of the day for Southern Californians Rival Tides. Many of the songs they currently perform are taken from their 2019 release My God is Fire and the band’s 2012 self-titled debut album. Highlights in the set, of which there are many, include the dynamic and sonically vast “Don’t Give the Ending Away,” the frenzied raver “Vultures,” the vocally dense “Bread for Thieves” and the biting Hollywood commentary “Sore Neck.”
Musicianship: This quartet acts as a unit that serves the songs in the most earnest way possible. Each member is a distinct musical personality. And it is their organic nature that injects the tunes with collective focus and power. Perhaps one of their greatest assets is their front line wall of harmonies. August is a solid lead singer and works seamlessly with Kent and Friday’s indelible interplay. They always seem to know where each other is going and no one gets in the way. Kent’s progressive guitar approach to effects and space is less about the shred-fest, and more about economy. The same can be said regarding Friday’s bass duties. He stays comfortably in the pocket and locks in well with Fulleman’s intricate, yet steady beats.
Performance: Broadcasting from a remote online location known as “Rancho C,” the quartet brought a wellspring of good humor and finely tuned energy to the concert stage. Lead vocalist August joked with the audio and video crew in between songs and that added to the entertainment value of their show. While it may have been a virtual performance, the band hit each downbeat as if they were playing an SRO event. “These Hands Were Made For Love” and “How to Catch a Bullet” set a standard in terms of multi-dimensional parts, heavily syncopated drums and a good groove. “Bread for Thieves” was a nice showcase of their talents in the use of dynamics and rich orchestration. Many of the songs seemed to pivot on the verge of combustion, yet never lost sight of melody or message.
Summary: Kudos to Pin-Up Productions for bringing Rival Tides to an online audience. They are an accomplished band, with an arsenal of strong material and uncommonly good vocals that merge hard rock and pop in a sophisticated and radio-ready package.