Finally the moment came. I got to see Royal Blood live! I’ve been listening to the album so much in the past few months, just loving the raw rock’n’roll riffs and rhythms. It’s an album where my favourite track keeps on changing because there are so many good ones. Right now it’s “Figure It Out”, which has one of those riffs which build and build and then explode. You can imagine a crowd going ape at that moment. I paid well over the odds for a couple of tickets, as the tour sold out within minutes. But I really wanted to see the band in a reasonably intimate venue before they get too big to play places like the Electric Ballroom in Camden.
I went with my good friend, Dave, The Big Man. A metal enthusiast. Would it rock hard enough for him? Being distinctly middle-aged rockers we started the evening at the excellent Sushi Salsa restaurant by the canal in Camden. Superb sushi, sashimi and tempura, washed down with a few Asahis. A quick stop in a Brazilian bar on the High Street and then on to the Electric Ballroom. Modern living…
I’m not sure what to say about the gig, really. It lived up to my expectations. They played the album and a couple of other tracks. It flashed by – no encore, just an hour of out and out hard rocking rock’n’roll. The place was packed, the fans were going for it, though there was less moshing and beer throwing than I’d expected. The light show was was just right – strident without being flashy or distracting. And Mike Kerr on bass/guitar and Ben Thatcher on drums made an awesome noise.
Oddly they started the show with a track that wasn’t on the album, a B-side called “Hole”. I’d expected an explosive start, maybe the album opener, “Out Of The Black”. That was actually the last track they played and it worked brilliantly, extended and absolutely punching. The second last song was the wonderful “Loose Change”, which is probably my favourite track of all when I stop moving around. After “Hole” at the start, they played “Come On Over”, which is the most metallic track on the album, a sort of cross between Motorhead and Zep, and the first track to get my favourite mark. From there it was solid rocking. Highlights, of course, included “Figure It Out” with its brilliant build up and explosion into riffdom and “Careless”, with perhaps the closest thing to a pop melody. But that is another thing about Royal Blood: they rock hard, but they also have tunes.
So it was basically just an hour of pure musical pleasure. Stripped down rock’n’roll. Nothing to analyse too deeply, unless you want to wonder how or why a couple of young lads from Brighton have reinvented early seventies hard rock with a bit of White Stripes and Queens Of The Stone Age thrown in. And why it has got such an enthusiastic reaction.
Well, I’d say because when someone comes up with a brilliant rock’n’roll beat, drums thumping, bass rhythm pounding, guitars riffing, and great tunes, we are all there, all ages…
Ready to rock!