When I think of a rock ‘n’ roll group, the band needs these ingredients to become successful: talented musicians, songs that are lyrically compelling, a unique sound, and the right fan base. Bands typically have 3-5 members, consisting of guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and a vocalist. On occasion, there have been two-piece bands that have gained an equal share of commercial and critical success. One of the most recognizable two-piece acts in rock that has achieved tremendous accomplishments is the White Stripes, featuring Jack White.
Now, coming all the way from Brighton, England, is an outfit that has changed the way we look at duo groups. They call themselves Royal Blood, and I went to their recent show at the Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif. I have been curious as to how they are able to create that special sound, and on August 13th, I got my chance to capture the spectacle, of witnessing just that.
After the opening band, The Welles, performed their showcase, Royal Blood launched the fans into a stir crazy kind of joy. The band consists of bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, and they have just released their sophomore effort, How Did We Get So Dark? I have to tell you, I was awestruck by how Kerr can make his bass guitar play those intense riffs, as well as play those bluesy, psychedelic bass beats. Mixing hard rock with stoner rock, garage rock, blues, and psychedelic, Royal Blood performed a miraculous set list that included a good blend of songs from their new album and their debut album.
The fans were singing to some their favorites, including “Little Monster,” “Lights Out,” “Out Of Black,” and “Hook, Line & Sinker.” Thatcher has all-around drumming talent that gives each song its backbone. From the looks I saw from the crowd in the photo pit, they were overjoyed to witness something this creative and imaginative. Their set included a background strobe lighting system that gave the concert a trippy ambiance feel to it. They really added to the overall feel of their stage presence.
Royal Blood exceeded my expectations as a live act. They sound good on record, but they sound even better live. Kerr and Thatcher have produced a musical vision that is not only artistic, but has commercial appeal. I went with my buddies, Rick Marto and Tyler Olsen, aka Rockaholic, and it was quite a night for rock ‘n’ roll. This was my first time seeing them, but it certainly will not be the last. They will soon hit the road in support of Queens of the Stone Age, so if you are looking for a new exciting band to check out, then look no further. To Royal Blood, I salute you. Horns up!!!
Article & Photos by Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
If you’d like to know more about the band follow the links below: