The Riders (Opening for Robin Trower)
House of Blues- San Diego, CA
Tom Cusimano – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Jimmy Olson – Drums
Mike Clairmont – Bass
Devin Shea – Violin
Niel MacPherson – Piano/Organ
First confession of the night, I didn’t stay for Robin Trower, the headliner for the night. I was more excited to see his openers, the Riders. The big question of the night I was hearing as people were lining up for Robin’s performance at the House Blues was, “What kind of music are the Riders?” Let me just answer that for everybody who wasn’t standing in that line. The Riders are a young classic rock sounding band. It’s hard not to sound like you came from the classic rock era when your producer/engineer team is made up of Richie Podolor and Bill Cooper (Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Michelle Branch).
This was also a momentous night for the guys because it marked their first show at the House of Blues in San Diego, but don’t be deceived these guys played up in LA plenty of times at the likes of the Knitting Factory and Viper Room.
I know I just said that they really do have that classic rock feel, but as they performed “I Don’t Want to Know” I could help but feel a really country vibe in it. I am going to throw out the obvious reason because of the fiddle player onstage but there was something else that just moved me. The sound could have been performed by Keith Urban.
It took a while for the guys to get their barring onstage but by the end they were right on. They saved their best for last as they performed “Sunday Letters.” It had a great simple riff that the classics are made from. Like a great rock song they kicked it up and crunched the riffs with a harder rock sound and then brought you back down. It was a fabulous roller coaster ride for the ears. Tom also broke out of his vocal shell and belted out the chorus with roaring vocals. The crowd was feeding off this.
It was hilarious near the end of “Sunday Letter” when Tom slowed it down and plugged the merch. He said that he had to do it one more time. I could hear the chuckling from the crowd around me. Why did Tom and the guys hold out on us ’til the end? Not sure, but they really know how to cap off a set!
Angels Can’t Carry Roses
In This Life
I Don’t Wanna Know
Photos of the Riders at the House of Blues San Diego: