King Tuts, 18 November

When Irish hard rockers Kopek take to the stage you would never know they’re the support act. From their substantial cheering section to the fact that people seem to know all the words to their songs, they feel like headline material. With discernible hints of Metallica and Led Zeppelin, Kopek run the risk of being swamped by their influences, but their own unique style shines through and they manage to bring something new to the table. ‘Cocaine Chest Pains’ and ‘Lovesick Blues’ are highlights but the real crowd-pleaser is ‘Love is Dead’ – ostensibly a song about what inspires the band to make music but in reality an oddly catchy list of dead things. All these showcase the remarkable range and intelligibility of singer Daniel Jordan, although his microphone is exasperatingly quiet for the whole set. By the time they play their last song Kopek have won over the whole crowd, and it isn’t even just their accents.

Royal Republic enter to campaign music before bursting into ‘Save the Nation’, the title track from their new album. Don’t let the song title fool you though; this isn’t Rise Against. Royal Republic are a Swedish punk-pop rock ensemble with charm, unironic facial hair and just a touch of madness. It’s during punchy little number ‘Molotov’ that the crowd really explodes into life and it never settles back down. Not content to do things the conventional way, the moustachioed pretty boys break out the acoustics to play ‘Addictive’ as a barbershop quartet. Above all, what makes the show is the audience interaction. Larger than life frontman Adam Grahn even demonstrates his preferred ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ breakup method on a girl in the front row, and I’ve never seen someone so happy to get dumped. Despite the stylistic differences between albums – from the played-straight punk pop of We Are the Royal to the more eclectic Save the Nation – the band tie it all together with their trademark energy and humour. Royal Republic are the kind of band who remind you why you go to the show instead of just staying home and listening to the album.

[Kirsty McLeish]

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