Music review: Royal Blood, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Putting their apparent onstage huff at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend behind them, Royal Blood’s gristly rhythm section-only rock was met with sweaty, enthusiastic appreciation at the Usher Hall, writes David Pollock

Music review: Royal Blood, Usher Hall, Edinburgh ***

Royal Blood are craft beer rockers, delivering a live set consisting of a bunch of muscular, energetic rock songs presented as enticingly as a row of colourful, illuminated beer pump clips.

Touring their just-released fourth number one album Back To The Water Below, vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher seem to be over the social media furore surrounding the apparent onstage huff of their last Scottish appearance at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in May. Here a packed Usher Hall received them with a sweaty, enthusiastic appreciation, and the feeling appeared to be mutual.

Royal Blood PIC: Calum BuchanRoyal Blood PIC: Calum Buchan
Royal Blood PIC: Calum Buchan
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The set had a macho simplicity baked in, its lyrical content not much more than a means of delivering earworm pop choruses through the medium of gristly, rhythm section-only rock.

The pair know their way around an anthemic melody well, with several fan favourites including Typhoons and Trouble’s Coming inspiring huge responses – and they know how to play that old rock-as-theatre game.

After the serrated funk grind of Boilermaker, the energy escalated with Fletcher’s mountainous intro to Come On Over, then Kerr orchestrated an audience singalong through the chorus of Lights Out.

Fletcher enjoyed an even greater, very well-lit solo to follow the signature Little Monster, then disappeared into the crowd after Out of the Black.

The pair were supported onstage by keyboard player Darren James (Kerr: “he’s very expensive!”) and occasionally a second guitarist, amid a set built for predictable speed and power. The pace changed only rarely, and when it did – the wistful rock ballads There Goes My Cool and Pull Me Through – the influence of the Beatles wasn’t far away. Just like that row of craft beer taps, it was all a version of the same thing, and their crowd seemed very happy with that.