The Glorious Sons “A War on Everything” Tour rolls into Los Angeles with Des Rocs and The Matchstick Skeletons
Review by Scott Harmon
The expression “Balmy, winter nights” should be an oxymoron, but it isn’t in Southern California; at least not this winter season. Such were the conditions on February 11, 2020, when The Glorious Sons took the El Rey Theater by storm; well, by acoustic at least. You see, instead of the entire band unleashing a musical fusillade to start their performance, Brett Emmons strolled casually on to stage with an acoustic guitar and sang “One Church Town”, a gritty ballad about life in a small town. Props to the band for taking the road less traveled and putting their songwriting front and center, presaging the evening’s emphasis on the band’s overall excellent songwriting and musical arranging.
Roughly 800 fans braved the warm breezes in short sleeves and packed into that rectangular hollow ready to listen to TGS support their most recent album release “A War On Everything.” This new collection of songs is outstanding, with great arrangements, deft musicianship, great rock singing, and outstanding lyrics. The band’s personality on vinyl, however, is slightly misleading as singer/lyricist Brett Emmons is not so much the leader on stage as he is an integral piece of an ensemble. Guitarist and brother, Jay Emmons stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his brother, adding backup vocals and some great melodic fills on guitar. Their stage presence is a study in contrasting styles, with Brett Emmons stomping back and forth across the stage with his hair obscuring his face while his brother channels a more Grohlian presence while staying close to his effects board wearing slightly tinted sunglasses for much of the show. There’s a reason why this band has been celebrated throughout North America having been nominated for a Juno award in 2015 for their album “The Union”.
For their new fans that had only recently discovered the band’s latest album, “A War On Everything” this had to be a real treat as The Glorious Sons ripped through most of the songs on the new album. The band stayed pretty true to the studio versions of their songs and many in the audience sang along to many of the lyrics. In addition to the Emmons brothers, the band consists of Chris Koster on guitar and backup vocals, Adam Paquette on drums and backup vocals and Chris Huot on bass guitar, all excellent musicians who made every note count. Overall, this was a great performance and I expect they’ll be playing larger venues in the not too distant future.
The Glorious Sons were opened by both The Matchstick Skeletons and Des Rocs; both excellent bands. However, special consideration should be given to Des Rocs and it’s frontman Danny Rocco. Des Rocs is a trio that puts out a huge sound that is more musical conversation than one usually hears aside from the accidental jazz encounter. In the spirit of forewarned is forearmed, parents, lock up your children and block access to the band and Danny Rocco’s social media pages. Rocco is a magnetic live performer who oozes sensuality and personality. That guy is special.