Photo: Samantha Falco

No doubt about it, rolling into The Basement a few months ago, Greta Van Fleet was THE buzz band and the sold-out crowd was there to witness the next generation of rock n’ roll superstars. What came as a surprise – at least to those who haven’t been paying attention – was how good the opening band was. The Glorious Sons, while in the class of newer rock bands, have been in the game a few years longer than their tourmates and played at Rock on the Range in 2015.

Formed in 2011 by brothers Brett (vocals) and Jay Emmons (guitar), The Glorious Sons sound has evolved over the years – 2014’s The Union bore casual resemblance to the Kings of Leon’s brand of southern rock with some Pearl Jam-style flannel-wearing grunge riffs sprinkled throughout. Though the band hails from Kingston, Ontario, there’s a midwest, blue collar ethic to the tales ripped from real-life situations.

The 2017 follow up, Young Beauties and Fools shows a more well-seasoned band, a band that’s ready to take some more chances and break out from the 99.7 Blitz-style rock that earned the band a spot on the Rock on the Range lineup. That’s not to say The Glorious Sons don’t still rock but the album’s opening track, “My Poor Heart”, is a soulful jam with horns and a pre-chorus that drops all instruments other than the drums. It’s a blast of fresh air where Brett’s singing channels the likes of Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin. With a different wardrobe and a few haircuts, you might mistake the band performing “Josie” for a CD102.5 favorite like The National or Spoon.

I’m not real clear on the story behind “Kill the Lights”, a single that was released in January, 8 months before Young Beauties and Fools, but doesn’t appear on The Glorious Sons’ sophomore album but it’s got one of the more memorable lyrics of 2017, “Kill the lights, I’m too damn tired / Can’t f*ck tonight, I work a double tomorrow”. As a huge Blind Melon fan, I can’t help but hear a little Shannon Hoon in Brett’s vocals (and some Black Keys in the guitars!) and throughout the band’s performance at The Basement in August, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching Hoon commanding the stage.

Going into that show blindly and without knowledge of The Glorious Sons, I’m looking forward to Friday night’s show now that I’ve become intimately familiar with The Union and Young Beauties and Fools. Doors are at 8pm, with locals Betsy Ross opening the show.