Frontman, Emil Amos, sang tunes suited to Bar le Ritz’ finest whiskey
You’re cruising down a deserted desert highway with the top down, harvest moon hanging low against the mountains on the horizon. You’re catching your warped reflection in the bottom of a whiskey glass as you reflect on past mistakes and shortcomings. You’re standing mere steps away from a pair of swinging saloon doors, hand quivering next to the pistol on your hip, caught in the middle of a veritable wild-west standoff. If it’s happening all at once, or at least it feels like it, you’re listening to Holy Sons.
On a damp and chilly Sunday night, Bar Le Ritz PDB, formerly known as Il Motore, hosted the Portland-grown project. Visible onstage through an assortment of jean jackets, autumn beards, leather bombers, and cotton beanies was Emil Amos – of OM, Grails, and Lilacs & Champagne fame – crooning with conviction to the intimate crowd. Equal parts introspective and diabolical, it is abundantly clear that both the lyrics and the music are Amos’ brainchild as they pour from his instruments. Delivered with passion and intensity, the artist’s music is a vehicle for relaying tales of both life experience and the analysis that follows, stripped bare to reveal harsh truths with every spirited howl and pluck of guitar strings.
Mixing psychedelica with a progressive attitude, between intricate rock riffs Holy Sons can conjure the image of a spice market in India or a curtained opium den without warning. Versatility and fluidity are strong points for Amos – while the overarching theme of self-examination lingers, it takes on many different forms and personalities. Regardless of the flavour of the minute, the crowd bobbed its collective head responsively to Holy Sons’ brand of ear candy, relishing its charming unpredictability and dark, devilish charm.