The success of Royal Blood will be of little surprise to anyone over the age of 30. This Brighton duo combine the ear-splitting muscularity of Metallica, the melodic aggression of The Pixies, and the shambolic tunefulness of Jesus and Mary Chain. For anyone still inclined to believe in the redemptive power of rock music, it’s a formula that screams ‘can’t fail’.
To the 20-nothings who make up a majority of Royal Blood’s fan-base, however, singer and bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher may as well have dropped from the clear-blue sky. With the charts dominated by frothy pop and day-glo hip-hop, Royal Blood’s earthy ruckus has created something akin to a sensation, as underscored by their recent Brit Award victory for best British group (an accolade that has reportedly driven One Direction fans into a tizzy).
On the first of two sell-out nights at the Olympia, Kerr and Thatcher delivered a master-class in rock-and-roll first principles. Kerr’s basslines were distorted into chugging riffs, Thatcher’s drum rolls crashed down in furious, tidal swells.
Granted, one song seemed to bleed into another and, for all their popularity, the pair have clearly yet to pen an anthem for the ages.
Nonetheless, this was a compelling showcase from an outfit riding a crest of acclaim, one that was low on frills but high on swagger. In time, it is likely their status will diminish, so that they will be remembered as interpreters of other people’s ideas, rather than innovators in their own right. For now, Royal Blood are head-banging overlords of all they survey.
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