Royal Blood at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, May 9 2018.
Words | Kieran O’Sullivan
I was one in the droves of rock ‘n’ roll fans braving the torrential rain this week to check out British drums/bass duo Royal Blood, and although I didn’t know a whole lot about them except for the two aforementioned facts (they’re British, and there’s two of them: a bass player and a drummer), I’m glad I attended.
I have a rule about bands with food and intercourse in their names, so I forwent opening act The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, but did catch Sydney’s Polish Club. They were good; not quite as good as their memes or their merch (their merch was GREAT, way better than even the headliner’s – go buy a t-shirt) would suggest, but a solid warm-up.
I’m also often wary of two-pieces, as they never seem to have the oomph required to truly fill out their sound live – but Royal Blood are a welcome exception. Between their captivating backing vocalists, charismatic frontman, Mike Kerr’s fuzzy-as-all-get-out bass guitar (he deftly uses keyboards and synths to great effect, too) and percussionist/Chip Mooney lookalike Ben Thatcher’s thumping drums, they’re an act who have developed a sound all their own. The closest comparison I could draw would be Lullabies To Paralyze-era Queens of the Stone Age mixed with Arctic Monkeys at their very AM-est. This unique sound has helped them to enormous popularity here in Australia, with the notoriously bereft of atmosphere Margaret Court Arena positively throbbing throughout.
I was sitting near a bunch of extremely enthusiastic 10-to-12-year-olds, banging their heads in unison while the dancefloor below fell into a pretty hectic-looking circle pit on more than one occasion. The RBBs (‘Royal Blood Boys’ – you’re welcome) commanded their audience like seasoned pros; it was almost Robbie Williams-esque at times the way these sweaty (mostly) blokes were eating out of their hands. At one point, with Thatcher standing above his drumkit to court more adoring cheers, he waved at Kerr urgently and gestured to his face and then the audience. Kerr leapt to the front of stage to alert a security guard to a bleeding girl in the crowd, who was promptly rescued and swept backstage along with the RBBs*.
Kerr returned minutes later asking for the injured girl’s friend to come find her, and for the rest of the crowd to be more careful and more respectful of each other. Really, that’s rule one of any good mosh.
All in all: a full house, a fantastic set and only one notable injury… who says you need anything more from drums and bass?
* Patent pending.
Royal Blood’s How Did We Get So Dark? is out now via Warner.