Blink and you’ll miss it. There’s no prelude to Royal Blood’s set, as they emerge on stage with a billow of The Academy’s trademark choker smoke and the drum beat like gunfire of ‘Hole’. As the smoke fades, the image on stage bares no resemblance to the what we’ve heard – for two black-clad shy looking boys they sure can produce sound enough for a full band. Mike Kerr surveys the sweaty testosterone fuelled crowd with an unreadable expression, as he ramps and smashes simultaneously through bass and electric guitar chords. Ben Thatcher is on his feet walloping the drums with a slightly animalistic amount of ferocity.
Every corner, step and crevice is filled with bobbing gelled heads, ready to loose whatever hold they had on reality. The atmosphere intensifies with every guitar brawwwmp, with the crowd poised to jump, clap or chant simultaneously at the drop of a hat. During the more downbeat tracks off their self-titled album, ‘Loose Change’ and ‘Careless’ the crowd sizzle with energy with no outlet.
Interaction with the heaving living organism of the crowd is kept to a minimum as the duo feed off each other’s noise as though they were the only ones in the packed room. Even during tracks like ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure It Out’, which naturally set the crowd ablaze and gagging at every note, they remain in equal parts delighted and shocked. This reaction is understandable given their meteoric rise since the album’s release. Few recent gigs have been hyped to such a degree, with spare tickets being touted for a rumoured €200 in the lead up, but these blood brothers certainly deliver, serving up an hour of full bodied rock and roll into the mouths of their eager fans. They’ll be back and so will we.
Royal Blood photographed for State by Mark McGuinness