This hard-rocking duo from Worthing is making huge waves in their native U.K. A recently announced tour sold out in mere minutes while their debut album has been named the fastest selling rock debut since 2011, a record previously set by Noel Gallagher. Meanwhile, they are slated to play headlining gigs across the United States, many of which have sold out faster than anticipated.
After streaming their album the week before its release, I was certain that they were a band I needed to see live in person. The fact that they were playing a smaller venue in Minneapolis made the decision even easier.
I arrived to Mill City Nights exactly an hour before the doors were set to open and there were only a handful of people already there. Even after the doors were supposed to open, the crowd wasn’t terribly large. The immediate crowd surrounding me was surprisingly casual in their entrance into the main stage area. There was no running, no mad dash for the barricade (which is what I’m used to as of late). Everyone simply trickled into place and I got my favorite spot, slightly to the right of the stage.
By the time Royal Blood was set to go on, the venue was notably fuller but still not filled to capacity as I had expected. The lights dimmed and Jay-Z’s 99 Problems boomed over the speaker system; an odd but not exactly out of place selection.
The absence of complicated light shows and fanfare was very fitting for a band who seems to be adjusting well to their mounting success in the United States. Lead Vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher emerged from a thin veil of smoke and launched into the heavy, fuzzy riffs and steady groove of Hole, from their Out of the Black EP. The tempo took a swing upwards with Come on Over and You Can Be So Cruel.
Figure it Out was a notable crowd favorite, having gotten heavy radio play on the city’s commercial rock station over the last few weeks. The crowd’s energy was sustained throughout the remainder of the set, with Out of the Black riding the wave of Loose Change’s end notes.
For a band with only one studio album to their name, Mike and Ben have the stage dynamic seemingly perfected, feeding off of one another’s energy and intertwining their performances with subtle interaction. Another U.K. band has triumphantly thundered onto the rock scene and they’re definitely here to stay. -Review by Krystal B.