After being proclaimed as the ‘saviours of rock’n’roll’ by BBC Radio 1, nominated for the Mercury Prize and having the fastest selling debut album in recent years, it seems like there could have been a bit of pressure on rock duo Royal Blood ahead of their intimate gig in Birmingham tonight. No need to worry though, as soon as the main house lights dip and Jay Z’s 99 Problems pumps out, the crowd is on fire.
Having been warmed up by the excellent Turbowolf, the audience are in an incredibly vocal mood. Turbowolf offer a blend of psychedelia, rock, punk and everything in between. By third song, The Big Cut, singer Chris Georgiadis is in the front row embracing the wealth of fans clambering near. Highlights from their brutally short set include new single Rabbit’s Foot and closer Let’s Die.
Royal Blood certainly deserve the hype. Their blend of intense rock’n’roll with indie undertones are reminiscent of early Nirvana and are certainly plugging a gaping hole in the current music scene. But what they do, they do perfectly within a one hour set. They play out the entire album, saying very few words, and with no encore.
The set opens with the thundering Hole which sets the bar. Singles Figure It Out, Come On Over and Little Monster make an already enthusiastic audience swell and bounce more. Album tracks You Want Me, Blood Hands and Careless are phenomenal. The short set ends on the epic Out Of The Black. It feels as if the whole hour has been building towards this intense moment, waiting for that riff to kick in. In a mid-song breakdown, drummer Ben Thatcher clambers down from his kit and stands tall on the front barrier flanked by fans and supported by security as Mike Kerr looks out from behind him, bass in hand happy with the sold out room’s reaction.
Royal Blood more than deserve the success they are getting. Their live sound is heavy and they do exactly what they wanted to, come on, play rock and leave, no questions asked. There is no other act around at the moment creating this much hype – with a decent second album, this band will be absolutely massive in a few years. Those at The Institute tonight witnessed something magical, something distinctly memorable indeed.
Words: Glenn Rossington | Photos: Andy Hughes