Royal Blood / A Highlight of The Gigging Year So Far

Royal Blood is the epitome of having your cake and eating it, too. The Brit award winning, multi-million-streamed band is back on the road. The band flew into London for an evening at the Eventim Apollo. Colossal venue, bigger band; rocks loudest duo brought their sold-out, tough-edged musicality to the capital.

Royal Blood

Eventim Apollo, London – 24 October 2023

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Antonio Giannattsio

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

Stepping out to the sound of composer Enico Morricone’s The Ecstasy of Gold, bassist and vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher whip up a storm of audience cheers as they take to their raised platforms. Joined by touring addition keyboardist Darren James, Royal Blood are at the peak of their game on a galvanic evening filled with rambunctious riffs and trademark style spins.

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

With their recent album, Back To The Water Below, just released, the setlist heavily features tracks from the record. The Royal Blood fandom has done their homework well. Chants are left, right and centre for the newer material, with the band opening with Mountains At Midnight. Shiner In The Dark, Triggers and Tell Me When It’s Too Late, trigger the same response. Kerr is clearly enjoying the response.

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

The uncanny emblem of the band comes from their combination of guitar-like bass riffs, pedal galore and some seriously hard-thumping tom work. With the help of James on the keys, the entire set is smattered with moments where I have to pinch myself to remember there are only three musicians on stage.

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Rage-ready attitude

The question of Royal Blood wondrously remains: how do they rock that loud? By the looks of it, with themselves, their instruments and a heck load of rage-ready attitude.

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

Cranking up the volume on the old favorites, the band keeps the setlist crisscross of the new and the old on a constant. Come On Over, Loose Change and Out of the Black from their self-titled debut album pump high-flying, mosh energy into the stall audience. Little Monster sees Thatcher let loose after a held-out bass riff interlude in which Thatcher takes himself into the crowd.

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

The onstage chemistry is matched only by the band’s interaction with the punters. Never easy on the witty remarks and cheeky, smirk-led snarls, the duo are inseparable with their insatiable, hallmark hooks and audience give and take.

A continuous peak

The crème de la crème level of material is at a continuous peak. Songs from Typhoons and How Did We Get So Dark? feature. They’re chomping on the bit at every turn, chewing down with the heat turned up. The focus is clear, with a striking light show against a minimal backdrop. The stage features a minimal backdrop illuminated by a striking light show.

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

Topping things off with Figure It Out, there is a rampage of exhilaration in the Apollo. The battle cries of Royal Blood racketeers through the venue as the pit opens and the ring of a thick bassline sounds out.

Royal Blood - Eventim Apollo, London - 24 Oct 2023
Royal Blood – Eventim Apollo, London – 24 Oct 2023. Photo: Antonio Giannattsio/MetalTalk

Royal Blood really are captains of their own hard-rocking team. The band have created a unique sound through instrument and pedal manipulation. Without losing an inch of the astronomically felt production, they take that sound and transpose it into a live show.

Undoubtedly, a highlight of the gigging year.

Sleeve Notes

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