ILLUMINATING Royal Blood with banks of bright white lights like the headlamps of an Eddie Stobart van felt like an appropriate visual metaphor, because this Brighton duo are coming through like a juggernaut, spurred on by their Best British Group win at this year’s Brit Awards.
Their self-titled debut album is the fastest-selling British rock debut in three years. From club dates 12 months ago, they’re already filling big halls (this show was the second of two Barrowland sell-outs) and have stadiums in their sights this summer in support of the Foo Fighters.
Vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have struck on a formula of broad and immediate appeal with their smartly economical, yet elementally heavy sound.
Kerr feeds his bass through a complex looking rig of octave pedals and amps to mimic the sound of a guitar duplicating his playing in air-tight unison, while Thatcher’s playing is clinically punishing. Songs like the speed-riffing Come On Over and the brutalist blues of You Can Be So Cruel are both sufficiently gut-shaking to impress rock purists. while melodic and nuanced enough to snare the indie kids too.
If there’s a downside to Royal Blood’s insistence on keeping it lean, it’s a lack of real variation – as their set progressed, it became trickier to differentiate the likes of the heavily Muse influenced Figure It Out from, say, the heavily Muse influenced Little Monster.
This being a one-album only major headline show, inevitably a little padding was required to squeeze it beyond the one-hour mark – a cover of T Rex’s 20th Century Boy, and an extended breakdown during Ten Tonne Skeleton, for instance. Closer Out of the Black, for its part, re-spawned after a fake ending to shake the building to its core one last time.
Seen on 23.02.15