Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Once in a while, a voice stops you dead in your tracks. The voice goes deep into your musical should and stops you cold. You look around to see if you have left this reality or have gone into another realm. I heard Eric Burton’s voice coupled with Adrian Quesada’s guitar on ‘Colors’ last year on Spotify and I must have played that track multiple, multiple times. It brought me immense pleasure and happiness to be moved by this deep, rich totally immersive sound. It was as if I had discovered an unknown treasure from the seventies one that had escaped the notice of all the music that has since passed.

‘Colors’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

There is an urgency in Eric’s voice a message that needs to be delivered to your heart bypassing your mind. It needs to open up that part of you that has become worn down by the relentless grey that is modern existence.

Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

On 7th February 2020 at Islington Assembly Hall, London the Black Pumas continued with their Black Moon Rising tour they came and performed their music onto an audience who had travelled across the globe to hear them play. As far as Venezuela to Spain fans had travelled to experience in person the music of this incredible band.

‘OCT 33’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

From the first opening chords of ‘Old Man’ the Black Pumas gripped the audience and a wave of positivity, warmth and electricity flowing through the concert venue which went through each and every fan. We knew this was special that this was a night to say afterwards that we had seen the Black Pumas live. Lets not forget that the Black Pumas are a duo and the other half of that duo is Adrian Quesada and without his guitar and the almighty power he wields with that instrument there would not be those delicious hooks and riffs to thrill and excite your senses.

Adrian Quesada from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Using my photograph on his Instagram page. ©CloudwatcherUno™ 2020

Hearing the album the self titled ‘Black Pumas’ you are transported to a world full of funkadelic soul, pulsing electronic heartbeats of bass with hypnotic beats. When you hear this music live in concert the effect is magnified a thousand fold sending shivers down your spine. Your feet can’t help but move along to the rhythms of the music.

‘Black Moon Rising’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

The whole atmosphere at the audience was electric, sending positive energy back to the band by singing the words to each and every song. And then Eric stepped it up another level by singing ‘Fire’ into the crowd itself. Surrounded by fans the whole audience went estactic.

Eric Burton from Black Pumas surrounded by fans as he sings ‘Fire’ at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Then Eric vaulted the security barrier and lept back on stage leaving the crowd hungry for more music and for the night not to end.

‘Stay Gold’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

What a show, a performance from the band that easily rates as being in the top ten live experiences I’ve been to. Well worth the wait of all these past months to a glimpse of the mercurial talents of these exceptional musicians. It’s no wondered Black Pumas were nominated for a Grammy this year for Best New Artist.

Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Then as the last song came over a silence came over the crowd. Surely it couldn’t end, not this evening of pure soul?

‘Old Man’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Of course it didn’t as the band came back to an uproarious encore when Eric asked the crowd if they wanted to hear another song? The crowd erupted with a almighty ‘YESSSSSS’ and so Eric sang an acoustic version of the Beatles classic ‘Eleanor Rigby’.

‘Eleanor Rigby’ perfomed by Black Pumas.

Then this evening of supreme came to an end. We had witnessed music in it’s purest form connecting us not only with the artists but with each of us who were in the venue.

Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

As if the night couldn’t get any better Eric then launched into a cover of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ a sublime mix of soulful vocals and words to connect with the audiences souls.

‘Fast Car’ performed live by Eric Burton from Black Pumas at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 7th February 2020. Video by Renato Ramone.

What next for the Black Pumas? They are currently on a path that is leading them to be interstellar. For now I can say that I was there at ground zero seeing them lift off on career that will take them into the stars.

Signed vinyl album by Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada from Black Pumas.
Photograph by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2020

Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

The Gods of Rock came down from Mount Olympus to O2 Brixton Academy on 3rd November 2019 and they brought the weapons of lightning, mixed with maelstrom of sound and unleashed them onto this corner of Albion.

‘Look Away’ performed by Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
Scott Holiday from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

My prayers were answered and the promised land of musical genius was within reach. The voice of Jay Buchanan filled the venue and electrified every soul with his stunning range and vocal power. Not a single breath was wasted, it was a performance of sheer genius. Ably supported by his fellow celestial beings Scott Holiday (Guitar), Michael Miley (Drums), Dave Beste (Bass and backing vocals) and Todd Ögren (Keyboards). You knew you were at a night of music that will live on in the annals of musical history.

Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

I knew I was ticking off my musical bucket list this night. Having waited over a year to see Rival Sons this was well worth the wait. This is a band at the heights of their musical prowess and shined in the limelight. Looking around at the faces of the audience all you could see was happiness in their eyes. Headbanging fans kept pace with each guitar riff and drum solo.

In the moment with Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Feral Roots’ performed by Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Jay was in his element, savouring each rapturous applause to songs and taking in the moment. At times he would stand still and just listen as the audience sang back the lyrics to songs such as “Shooting Stars’.

Scott Holiday from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Shooting Stars’ performed by Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Rival Sons performed songs throughout their back catalogue opening with ‘End of Forever’ from the album ‘Feral Roots’ and ‘Electric Man’ from ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ and ‘Keep on Swinging’ from ‘Head Down’.

Michael Miley from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Electric Man” performed by Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

It may not have been the loudest concert that i’ve been to that was Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real earlier on in the year but for pure unadulterated entertainment Rival Sons took everything above and beyond the call of musical duty.

Scott Holiday from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Look Away’ performed by Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Instead of doing an encore with the band walking off stage Jay told the enraptured audience that if it was alright with them he would just carry on playing more rock anthems. The end of the night finally came when Jay sand ‘Do your Worst’ a fitting tribute to all the worshippers of the mighty Rival Sons.

‘Do your Worst” performed by Rival Sons, at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Video: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

My experience didn’t end just there as I got to meet the whole band which for this fan boy was totally out of body experience. To add to that getting the whole band to sign my copy of ‘Feral Roots’ along with the tour poster truly made for a magical evening.

With the Gods of Rock that are Rival Sons at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Feral Root’s album signed by the whole band Rival Sons at O2 Brixton Academy, London on 3rd November 2019. Photograph: CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019