With only an album and an EP under its belt, Royal Blood have managed to command some serious attention. Their self-titled debut album was released in August and has sold over 500,000 copies … no small feat these days. Now, hot off of the Coachella stage, the band has sold-out a slew of venues on their North American headlining run including a pair of sold-out weeknight shows at Slim’s in San Francisco.
By the time Royal Blood took the stage at 10:15 pm, the house was packed and the drinks were flowing amongst the older-than-expected crowd. Many up front were back for a second night, well-aware that the band’s limited catalog left no room to switch things up … unconcerned that they were likely to get the same setlist again. Even the drummer of a certain Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted metal band snuck in the back door to catch the set. When drummer Ben Thatcher strolled to the edge of the stage with a beer bottle in hand to gaze stone-faced over the crowd, the room erupted.
With only a drummer (Ben) and bass player/vocalist (Mike Kerr), it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the songs were thunderously bottom-heavy … the front row being blasted in time with the music by air off the kick drum. What was surprising, however, was how melodic the music was. Kerr’s left hand was all over the fret board, inexplicably marrying the melody with the rhythm as if he had a couple of extra appendages, all while his feet worked the rows of gadgets adorning his pedal board. A song like Ten Tonne Skeleton sounds so huge that it’s easy to forget that there’s only two guys on stage making all that noise. Once that realization hits, you may find yourself trying to listen for the backing track that isn’t there, only to finally resign yourself to enjoy the show and marvel at the musicianship such as the solo work on Better Strangers. The glue that holds it all together, though, is the super-strength groove between Kerr and Thatcher.
Those that attended the previous night would likely point out that two songs were snipped from the setlist (Hole, One Trick Pony) but one would hope that seeing the aforementioned metal drummer join the band onstage for Out of the Black would more than made up for it.
After a brief but blistering one hour set that had the crowd teetering on the edge of rowdy, two things were abundant clear: this pair of musicians seem to be just scratching the surface of their potential and the hype surrounding Royal Blood is well-deserved.
- Come On Over
- You Can Be So Cruel
- Figure It Out
- Better Strangers
- Little Monster
- Blood Hands
- Ten Tonne Skeleton
- Loose Change
- Out of the Black
Supporting act: Mini Mansions
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