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Toted as being one of the few bands responsible for breathing new life back into rock & roll and bringing the genre back to the forefront of popularity, Royal Blood hit Pittsburgh last Thursday night on their U.S. headlining tour. Fresh off their run with Queens of the Stone Age, the Brighton duo filled Stage AE to considerable size and had the adrenaline coursing throughout the venue. Royal Blood, comprising of Mike Kerr (vocals/guitar) and Ben Thatcher (drums), truly is a unique beast in how they are strictly just a two-man powerhouse. Employing an elaborate rig that can switch between bass/electric guitar tones, Kerr essentially does the job of two for the price of one backed by Thatcher’s resounding snare hits and killer drum ability.
Royal Blood proved Thursday night, as they seem to consistently always do, that they are one of the best rock bands out there on the market today. Hitting the stage to a tumultuous eruption from the crowd, Thatcher took his position followed by Kerr slowly limping out on stage. Considering how Kerr had fractured his foot days earlier at Boston Calling, Royal Blood’s decision to continue their tour as planned really shows the level of dedication both Kerr and Thatcher feel toward their fanbase. With both rockers in place, the Brighton dudes immediately kicked up a tune to their breakout hit, “Figure It Out”, off their 2013 self-titled debut album. A meaty bass intro followed by the dimming of the stage’s lights and some smoke in the background for effect, the anticipation in the air was almost palpable. Kerr then came in with the light vocals to start which paved the way for Thatcher to start grooving on the kit. With the majority of their songs having a badass intro, courtesy of either Kerr’s bass or Thatcher’s snare/hi-hat work, Royal Blood has become notorious for devising tracks that have some tasteful build-up leading to some insane hooks and climaxes.
Royal Blood’s setlist consisted of songs from both their first LP as well as their sophomore album, How Did We Get So Dark?. Playing favorites from both albums early on such as “Lights Out”, “Come On Over”, and “I Only Lie When I Love You”, Royal Blood was emitting an infectious energy that was running rampant throughout the audience. Even with his mobility limited, Kerr still managed to rile up the crowd by shredding on his Gibson and by dancing conservatively around. Although their performance was missing the element of Kerr moving wildly around like he has done many times in the past, his injury proved to be just another hurdle that Royal Blood easily cleared with trademark bravado and pose. I could easily tell that the audience appreciated Royal Blood’s resilience and personified these feelings of appreciation by heightening the moshing and surfing throughout the entire show. Saving the very best and most intense shit for last, Kerr and Thatcher came back out after their initial setlist had ended and encored with “How Did We Get So Dark” and “Out of the Black”. With Thatcher beating the absolute hell out of the drums and Kerr keeping the tempo going, Royal Blood’s encore was a perfect ending to an overall kickass display of showmanship and musical technicality.
Humbly thanking the crowd again for coming out and for supporting them each step of the way, Royal Blood took their leave and left their mark significantly on Pittsburgh’s Stage AE. Any fan of either classic or alternative rock owes it to themselves to check out Royal Blood’s live show at least once in their lifetime. Marking my third time seeing the Brighton duo in action, these guys just keep getting better and better as the years progress. For more information on their current tour as well as updates, hit the link here!