In 2014, when Royal Blood dropped their debut album, the earth shook. This is why–with just two instruments, Ben Thatcher (drums) and Mike Kerr (bass/vocals) inject tender (and freaking sexy) vocals, scuzzy riffs, and pounding (yet methodical) drums. Their self-titled album doesn't just earn a + or heart shaped click on your Spotify or Apple Music accounts. Their entire album snuggles its way into its own private playlist. Yes, it's that savage.
Seeing this duo live was invigorating. Before they took the stage, fans stood with feet glued to the floor as Bass Drum of Death and Wakrat kicked things off. A man in the middle of the mosh pit stood with black shades, worn responsibly for flashing lights neurotically bounced throughout the venue in every color of the rainbow.
A few girls to my right stuffed grilled cheeses in their mouths as a man, quite cleverly, pointed out that the dude edging in front of us had quite a bit in common with Curious George's friend (you know, the one that wears the yellow hat?) A chant for Royal Blood quickly commanded my attention as the room went black and "Simon Says" by Pharoahe Monch echoed. Out walked Thatcher and Kerr and within seconds they were playing their popular track "Figure It Out." Kerr instructed the audience to clap their hands to the beat and with the occasional stop for a gulp of water, they played "Come On Over", "You Can Be So Cruel," and "Careless."
Several intimate moments with Kerr and the microphone later, bodies were ejected toward the stage as heads bobbed ferociously. Thatcher paid homage to Southern California, sporting an LA hat as he sat atop his black (and somewhat sparkly) drum set like a king. Kerr requested Jack Daniels from his sound guru, on the side of the stage, and shot it back like a rockstar before beginning "Little Monster." Pretending as if the song was over, the duo (who by the way formed their band after Thatcher picked up Kerr from the airport, after a trip to Australia) became silent. The crowd, of course, sang their holy praises inevitably giving them a surge of energy and they sang "I'm your wolf, I'm your man/I say run little monster/Before you know who I am."
"You guys are fucking amazing" Kerr yelled. "Things are going to get strange" he continued. "I love you Ben" a guy from the audience yelled. They began "Loose Change", featuring drum and bass solo's, prompting the crowd to lose it that much more in admiration of the duo. Kerr walked down the front of the stage, as if he were on a tightrope with one foot in front of the other, and launched into "Out Of The Black."
They played a seamless set of back to back triumphs. They graciously accepted the nonstop applause and bounced. No encore necessary.
Figure It Out
Come On Over
You Can Be So Cruel
Ten Tonne Skeleton
Out Of The Black