ABC – 30/10
Royal Blood: a Radio 1 staple, nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize and accumulating promising reviews wherever they go. Energetic, vibrant and, most of all, loud – Royal Blood managed to deliver yet another stellar live performance.
It’s hard to believe that the sheer musicality – and the gritty riffs – comes from only two people, a bass and drumkit. Together, Michael Kerr’s drawling vocals and Ben Thatcher’s relentless pounding of the drums creates a visceral, dynamic experience that the audience were continually immersed in.
Kicking off with the pulsating beats of Jay Z’s ‘99 Problems’ and monochromatic strobe lighting, the duo launched into their set with ‘Hole’, a grungy piece reminiscent of the White Stripes. ‘Come on Over’ saw tension carefully crafted throughout, with interludes of soft-spoken vocals accompanied with a steady drum beat, only for the song to explode at the chorus.
The tempo was accelerated as the set continued, the crowd chanting the band’s name with increasing energy. First single ‘Little Monster’ followed on from the first (failed) attempt at a fan crowd-surfing; a little less fierce, perhaps, than their performance at Big Weekend but who can argue with such an intense bass solo?
My personal favourite, ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ was performed with vitality, switching between the simplistic but endlessly catchy chorus and verses carried by Kerr’s distinctive drawl. Ending on ‘Out of the Black’, a more traditional heavy rock piece, the crowd were invigorated, clearly invested in the moment.
As everyone filed out, sweaty and jostling, I caught the words of a girl in front of me, evidently excited and impressed: “Wow, they were really, really good, weren’t they?” Yes, actually, they really were.