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Rival, Eamon Dorans, Dublin, 7th September 2003

Rival are a brand new band, but some of the faces up on stage are familiar. Regular readers of Sorted magAZine and those of you who like to hunt out obscure singer/songwriters in Dublin will no doubt be familiar with Joe Wash. He began his musical career playing acoustic shows and building up a following, every now and then introducing an original song into his set.

In the past year, however, he has developed his sound, written more songs and realised that all his best shows were the ones where he had a band alongside him. With that in mind Rival, was formed and this was their debut show and EP launch. There are worse starts to a career than playing your first ever show to an eager crowd in a packed out Eamon Dorans.

Attempting to warm the crowd up before Rival hit the stage were The Slow River School. Like their moniker they are meandering and droopy, playing slow, monotonous tunes that quickly fade into the background. There are people who like their slow plod along affair, but this was not the time nor the place for TSRS to be on stage.

Anticipation levels were high when Rival bounded onto the stage ready to make an impact on Dublin. Songs that are so familiar they already sound classic like 'Inner-mind landslide' and the beautiful 'Carousel' were greeted with open arms by the eager crowd. Sounding like a mix between The Frames and Stereophonics, Rival are a band without equal. Compare them to most other new original bands around Dublin (or the rest of the country for that matter) and no-one stands a chance. Live they are an upbeat good solid rock band.

Take the fantastic 'Foreign feet' for example. Over the past year, this song has grown and now it commands a chorus that take over entire cities it's so powerful. Joe, who still sounds a little like Kelly Jones, has a strong, confident voice and he is not afraid to use it. Slowing things down with a sorrowful 'Safe' and the sweet, majestic 'What the song looks like' Rival proved themselves to be out their in a world of their own. Genres can't confine this group and there is a good chance that neither can boundaries. Make some space in your CD rack and on your walls because very soon you are going to have a new favourite band.

Ken McGrath

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