Royal Blood at The Academy, Dublin – Review
Royal Blood, Brighton based grunge rockers, have been an instant hit since they formed in late 2012. What a track record Royal Blood have built for themselves in little over a year – selected by BBC’s Sound of Poll in 2014, signed to Warner Brothers and Black Mammoth, respected by leading musicians (Muse, Arctic Monkeys), a sell-out début album – the list goes on. Hence, the sold out show at The Academy and two more next March in Dublin. Inside The Academy’s dark and smoke filled venue, new and devoted fans packed in early waiting amidst heat and sweat.
Crash landing onto the stage Mike Kerr (vocals/bass/guitar/effects) and Ben Thatcher (drums) opened with the epic and riff orientated ‘Hole’. Royal Blood combine the elite sounds of Muse, Led Zeppelin and The Queens of the Stone Age, oozing natural rock crux and skill.
Thatcher’s metal style drums blasted and ripped across the air, while Kerr’s loops and bass sound effects tripled the volume. Crowd surfers went wild, it was a ‘moshers’ dream. ‘Come On Over’ took the room by the balls, crushing any fears of a poor performance. When Kerr crooned “Good Evening, Dublin!”, the crowd shrilled in feverish delighted.
Amid smoke and amber lighting, the band moved on with ‘Figure it Out’, ‘You Want Me, ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Love and Leave It Alone’. Kerr strikes as one hell of a front man, he asked the crowd if they had improved on their last performance to more shrills and cheers. Not that anyone should disagree, Royal Blood know exactly who they are and what they are doing. It is hard to believe there are only two band members based on the sounds they create.
‘Figure it out’ was my favourite song during the night because of its raw and mesmerising energy – the moshing crowd proved how much they loved it. With his savage break-up on riffs, Kerr heralds some seriously insane guitar and bass skills. When Thatcher hopped into the crowd to surf, this was a night highlight. After an incredible session, the crowd hollered within Kerr’s sound effect interference. When there was no encore, it did not really matter – Royal Blood did not need one!
Kerr and Thatcher merge the best elements of rock. At times, a slight pang for versatility was craved, however, as this is only the beginning, there is no doubt that this criticism will be trashed further down the line. Royal Blood have firmly planted themselves into rock and roll history, out there in a league of their own.
Review by Aine Byrne
2. Come On Over
3. You Can Be So Cruel
4. Figure It Out
5. You Want Me
6. Better Strangers
7. Little Monster
8. Blood Hands
10. Love and Leave It Alone
11. Ten Tonne Skeleton
12. Loose Change
13. Out of the Black