One of a handful of dates postponed from last week due to frontman Mike Kerr testing positive for COVID, Brighton shredders Royal Blood did well to get the rescheduled dates shoe-horned in so quickly. However, the rapidly rescheduled dates came at a price as, having shifted from a Friday night to a Tuesday, attendee numbers were slightly down.
Playing their final show as support on this run, Reading indie band The Amazons were clearly excited to be out on the road with their good friends. “We sold merch for Royal Blood back in the day at the Face Bar,” recalls frontman Matt Thomson, “so it’s a real honour to be out on tour supporting them.” With plenty of their own fans already in the Arena, the band wasted no time hitting their stride, no bad thing given they only have a short time on stage. “You’ll have to indulge us as this is our last show with Royal Blood so we’re going to make the most of it” beams the frontman as the band crash through the likes of “Bloodrush” and “Ready For Something” and as the final moments of their set are soon upon them, it’s hard to work out who enjoyed that more, the band or their fans.
The Amazons Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest
Over the course of their career, Brighton rock gods Royal Blood have probably played most of the venues around Leeds. However, while the size of venue might have changed over the years, Royal Blood look like they still can’t grasp the numbers of people turning out to see them. Having played gigs everywhere from the intimate surroundings of the Belgrave Music Hall to ninety thousand people at Leeds Festival, frontman Mike Kerr still grins in disbelief as he looks out at the sea of fans in the Arena. Having already smashed through opener “Typhoons” followed by “Boilermaker”, that sight is an Arena rocking with fans singing along to every word.
For a two-piece, one of whom is drummer Ben Thatcher, the wall-shaking noise Royal Blood crank out shouldn’t work in an arena but, dwarfed by massive video screens, as the pair power through “Lights Out”, “Little Monster” and “Blood Hands”, the Royal Blood live experience in 2022 is as huge as the riffs Kerr grinds out. A perfect pairing, Kerr pulls all the rock star poses while, Thatcher, perched atop of drum riser, totally looks the part and, as he pounds out the tribal beat that holds together this raucous rock noise, the pair lock together in perfect unison.
Early in the night, a sign at the entrance to the main arena warned that “moshing might take place tonight” and, while that probably wasn’t an order from whoever put the sign up, as Royal Blood powered through their seventeen song set, it was certainly an instruction these hardcore fans were going to follow and any grumbles fans might have had at coming out on a Tuesday evening were soon danced to the back of their minds.
Royal Blood Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest