Words & Photos by Marco Denzer
No amount of rain from the torrential storm that drenched the tri-state area during the past 48 hours prevented Royal Blood, the English duo comprised of bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, from adhering to their schedule, so on Friday night they arrived in New Haven, Connecticut prepared and determined to rock the roof off the College Street Music Hall.
The band, currently on the road in support of their most recent release “Back to the Water Below”, will bring their North American Tour to a close in New York City next week after performing in Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Louisville (Louder Than Life Festival) and Asbury Park (Sea.Hear.Now Festival) among other cities.
Bad Nerves, the 5-piece punk band supporting Royal Blood on this tour kicked the night off with a set that was nothing short of an adrenaline boost to the vein, and the high energy performance they delivered easily got the crowd bopping to the beat. Their roughly 45-minute set included popular tunes like “Radio Punk”, “Can’t Be Mine” and “Dreaming” to name a few. As it turns out, Bad Nerves was nothing but good, these guys came to put on a show and delivered ten-fold to the audience’s delight. There’s no doubt we’ll be hearing more from them.
Following a brief technical intermission to prepare for Royal Blood, the musicians promptly walked onto a broad and minimal stage at 9PM. Ben’s imposing drum set featured prominently on one side of the stage, and Mike’s “secret sauce” bass processing foot pedals and microphone stood on the opposite side. Their supporting keyboardist and backup vocalist on this tour, Darren Watts, was situated behind Mike and further to the left.
The duo got right into the night’s repertoire and set the pace for what was to come with “Out of the Black” and “Come on Over”, a rocking one-two punch from their widely acclaimed 2014 “Royal Blood” album. The rest of the show, which lasted approximately an hour and forty-five-minutes, was a hard- hitting combination of tracks from their various productions, including “How Did We Get So Dark”, “Typhoons” and obviously the most recent one “Back To The Water Below”. It’s worth noting that including an additional backup musician in their live performance ensures a full and very consistent sound without using backing tracks and sequences, particularly on songs written and produced with additional synthesizer and vocal textures, as in their more recent albums. Royal Blood has evolved and expanded their sound and tonal palette over time, but they remain a hard-hitting no-nonsense rock duo at heart. Their fans understand this and accept it as a natural progression, a point that was clearly evident in all the love and enthusiasm they shared with the band during the performance.
To summarize, Royal Blood delivered an excellent performance with plenty of variety from a repertoire that included titles like “Shiner in the Dark”, “Little Monster”, “Boilermaker” and many others. Mike’s voice and their sound and light show in general were spot on, they appeared comfortable and came across with great vibes in their interactions with the audience… so the crowd reciprocated that energy to them ten fold. The band will soon return to Europe for a series of sold out concerts on that side of the Atlantic.
Out of the Black
Come On Over
Mountains at Midnight
Pull Me Through
How Did We Get So Dark?
Ten Tonne Skeleton
Shiner In The Dark
Figure it Out
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