After having to postpone their original date back in November due to ill health, Royal Blood (comprising of bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher) performed a triumphant show which fulfilled the anticipation of the 2 month wait.
Support was provided by Turbowolf, an eclectic 4 piece band hailing from Bristol. By mixing rock with a variety of other genres (and the clever use of a synthesizer), Turbowolf created a big and brash sound which furiously blasted the audience in the face song after song. Their set was faultless; sound, lights and performance all meshed together to draw the audience into their strange world of physc-rock – a great prelude to Royal Blood.
Once they entered the stage, Royal Blood filled the room with an unmistakable presence in almost an instant, regardless of only being a duo. Starting with Come on Over they provided the audience with a heavy hitting sound, throwing them straight in the deep end of Royal Blood brilliance.
A special mention must be made to their drummer Ben Thatcher who at no point let his performance fail; the conviction with which he played his kit was awe inspiring, the fact it was still standing and intact at the end was a miracle and a testament to its manufacturer. If anything, the night belonged to him, his entrance into the crowd towards the end of the show sent the first few rows into a frenzy, as if they were able to touch some form of musical God. Nowadays very few musicians are able to command that amount of respect from an audience, Thatcher knew he had the crowd in the palm of his hand and indulged every second of it.
It is impressive to think that, although only forming in 2013, Royal Blood already have a strong and succinct sound. No part of their performance could be criticised; they were slick and gave off an air of musical craftsmanship which would be expected of artists at least double their age. The cohesive sound of heavy bass and drums meant the two piece from Brighton kept throwing belter after belter at the audience. Notable tracks include Little Monster and the closing track, an extended version of Out of the Black, both of which sound even better live (if that was even possible to begin with). The only qualm I could find was the set ended too suddenly, 11 tracks and 45 minutes later it was over as soon as it began and as an audience member I was left wanting more, some new material possibly?
Overall, Royal Blood’s live performance is just as good, if not completely surpassing, their studio efforts. The atmosphere was darkly magical and left the crowd wanting more after every track – mainly due to Thatcher and Kerr’s unmistakable stage presence and sheer musical talent which commanded absolute attention. If this gig is anything to go by they will be making a very welcome return to Portsmouth in March, let’s just hope a few new tracks are sprinkled in to bait the fans for the much anticipated second album.