Royal Blood / An Intimate, Electrifying Performance At UEA Norwich

For Royal Blood, when you have the option of selling out arenas and the choice to play venues where the capacity is several hundred rather than thousands, it shows a sense of devotion to the fans and that there is a need for connection to more than the front two rows.

Royal Blood

UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024

Words: Paul Monkhouse

Photography: Ryan Hildrew

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

It’s true that seldom has the UEA, Norwich, been so shoulder to shoulder, but, given that this is Royal Blood, the clamour for tickets was almost ferocious and the lucky few who wedged themselves into the LCR.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Playing in front of a devoted audience, hanging on your every word, has become pretty commonplace for Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher but being so close to everyone added an extra electricity, the visceral power of the duo amplified.

Barring one of the most impressive light shows seen at the venue, this was as stripped back and raw as rock ‘n’ roll comes and the fact that a bass and set of drums can bring so much thunder is a thing of wonder.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Kerr sings his heart out and the fact that he can produce such an array of riffs from four strings brings to mind Lemmy and Peter Hook as the uses his instrument as an axe, cutting through night with one explosive barrage after another.

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Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Thatcher’s no slouch either, his mix of groove and punch driving numbers like opener Out of the Black and the tremendous fuzzed up boogie of Better Strangers the perfect accompaniment to his partner’s blitz.

One of the strengths of Royal Blood has been their chameleon-like ability to shapeshift from song to song, and when a jagged Boilermaker is followed by the twisted dance of Mountains At Midnight, you can’t help but wonder at their ability to bring a new edge to their music.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Giving them the flexibility to reproduce their complex sounds, unofficial third member Darren James adds additional layers of colours with his playing and singing. His presence at the rear of the stage is sparingly used, but there’s no denying that Kerr and Thatcher hit hard with or without the extra contributions.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

With numbers like Lights Out, Shiner In The Dark and Typhoons raging harder than their studio counterparts, it was only with the serene Pull Me Through that the pace slackened, the welcome breather a momentary respite.

With a cherry-picked and career-spanning set, there was going to be everything for everyone, with deeper cuts thrown in for good measure. But at this stage of their career, Royal Blood could have played purely more obscure numbers and b-sides, and the crowd would have sung along with every word.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

It’s to their credit then that there’s never any whiff of self-indulgence or cruising along, and with the closing salvo of Loose Change, Ten Tonne Skeleton, and Figure It Out, there was absolutely no doubt that the band have not been resting on their laurels since being presented with their Best British Group award by Jimmy Page at the Brits in 2015.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Still out there and still hungry, Royal Blood just want to continue to make music and kick down doors. Long may they continue.

Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk
Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk
Royal Blood - UEA - The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich - 12 June 2024
Royal Blood – UEA – The Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich – 12 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

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