Live Review: Royal Blood at the Academy

This year’s biggest breakthrough act, Royal Blood, are currently riding a wave of hype the likes of which most bands dream of.
Since the release of their debut single “Out Of the Black” last November, the band have quickly risen up the festival bills whilst achieving a following that is part head-banger, part Radio 1 loyalist. Tonight’s show is the first in a modest victory lap following the success of their chart-topping debut.

Royal Blood have only released one album so far, meaning that any mystery regarding tonight’s set-list is non-existent. Fortunately the band’s self-titled debut has gifted them with enough heavy-hitters to make many older bands envious.

Anticipation is palpable in The Academy for what might be the last small gig Royal Blood ever do. Opening with the one-two punch of “Hole” and “Come on Over”, the duo have the crowd in instant raptures as they sing and shout every word, while throwing themselves towards the stage.

Frontman Mike Kerr may not care much for stage banter but the sheer force of the band’s music more than makes up for this, as the music, rather than any “Put your hands in the air” patter, commands the audience.

Following their sterling opening, the band raise excitement further by dropping one of their lead singles “Figure It Out”, displaying a great deal of confidence in their album tracks, which never let the audience’s attention slip.

It’s at this point The Academy becomes an absolute sweatbox. It’s only when live that it becomes truly astounding that such an immense wall of noise can be produced by a two piece. The combination of drummer Ben Thatcher’s animalistic attacks, reminiscent of John Bonham, and the fuzzy-LOUD-fuzzy-LOUD bass Mike Kerr makes for head-palpitating madness.

Royal Blood make the wise decision to avoid using filler cover songs to stretch out their setlist for the sake of it, maintaining a short but sweet approach by playing their album in full with a B-side or two thrown in.

The show climaxes with the final track of the night, their breakthrough “Out Of the Black” and even Thatcher gets involved with the crowd-surfing. For such a new band, the duo know exactly how and when to deliver their catalogue live, a trait that will surely only be strengthened by the time of their Olympia shows next March.

If you’re lucky enough to get a chance to catch them in such a small venue, take it. This is a band who are going to get really big, really quickly. With demand for tonight’s show so fierce that prices for second hand tickets reached 200Euro it’s likely that the release of their second album will see them selling out venues like the 3 Arena.

Ryan Foynes

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