Missing Royal Blood’s concert in the U.K (due to exams) was a big deal for me- I was so excited to hear the two-member band live. When I moved to Barcelona for my year long placement I had no hope that I would see them play anytime soon, so you can imagine how enthusiastic I felt when I heard they were coming to Barcelona in October.
It felt nerve-wracking during the actual live event, waiting for them to come on stage. However, Black Honey did a great job at leading up to the much-awaited moment. Black Honey revolve around a more indie/alternative style, accompanied by powerful female vocals. They still have strong rock notes lingering in their music and it all comes to blend beautifully together, with lead singer Izzy Baxter’s theatric stage presence, as well as her passionate and sultry vocals. The crowd seemed to enjoy their performance, but they were not as pumped, let’s say, as someone would expect them to be.
And then it was time for Royal Blood came on stage: You could tell from the excitement in the crowd, the shouting and screaming, that everyone was anticipating this moment (the atmosphere felt so much different compared to when Black Honey was playing).
The duo started off the night by playing ‘’How did we get so dark.” It is worth mentioning again that the band only consists of two people: Mike Kerr as a vocalist and bass player and Ben Thatcher playing the drums. The live performance had additional backing vocals, present in ‘’How Did We Get So Dark’’, in order to be able to translate the exact same sound as the pre-recorded audio.
All instrumentation was perfectly delivered on stage by the two-member band: a bass, drums, guitar, bass amps and a multi-effect pedal. One might wonder how so much energy can be translated to the crowd by only two people. That was certainly attained by Kerr’s way of approaching the crowd in the midst of song (even offering alcohol), as well as Thatcher’s drum solo in their well-loved “Little Monster” track.
There is something so simplistic about the type of music Royal Blood makes, as they prefer to stick to a similar sound throughout their albums, but this means that their sound and their lyrics, as well as Kerr’s way of singing, makes them who they are. It is refreshing to see such garage rock bands coming into the spotlight lately, to enhance the music scene.
Moreover, the duo did a great job at emitting the tension and complex feelings expressed in their songs and drag the audience into the different emotions sang by Kerr. Old favorites like ‘’Ten Tonne Skeleton’’, ‘’Out of the Black’’, as well as newest additions such as ‘’She’s Creeping’’ and ‘’Lights Out’’ saw the crowd signing along and enjoying the moment.
Repeated mixtures of bass and guitar, like sounds all attained by Kerr’s bass, the strong drum presence and an underlying pessimism and uncertainty present in their lyrics, describe the duo’s style. The performance ended by the band playing ‘’Out of the Black’’. Even though the song was played for a second time the crowd did not seem to mind that fact and gave their best sing-along energy for the last few minutes of the performance.
After watching them live, the only question for me remains to see what else they’re going to bring in the game: Is their style going to develop and change? Will they create a completely different sound? Will they stick to the music style we are used to and add more to it? All that remains is for us to wait and see. I certainly think this was a worthwhile experience, and I would definitely do it again – even though I had to wake up early for work the next day (a concert on Monday? Seriously my only complaint.)
Text by Elpida Komianou
Picture research by Juliey Pham; featured image from song-bar.com.