Newport Centre, Tue 3 Mar
Fresh from their recent ceremonial triumph, scooping Best British Group at the Brit Awards, Tuesday evening saw Royal Blood descend on a capacity Newport Centre crowd who fully expected a night they’ll never forget. That’s precisely what they got… and then some.
Kicking off proceedings were the intentionally bizarre Mini Mansions. Fronted by Queens Of The Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman, the LA-based trio received bewildered looks initially, with the crowd unsure of how to react to the eccentric, often surreal psych-pop before them. Bewilderment soon turned to interest and intrigue, thanks to some quirky and weirdly catchy numbers; by the end of their fairly lengthy slot, the curious three-piece had won the crowd over for the most part.
Appearing through the haze of an engrossing smoke and light show, the entry of the main event triggered a frenzy in the arena which refused to subside for the duration of Royal Blood’s set. A lingering and intense stare at the crowd from drummer Ben Thatcher was followed by the Brighton duo diving into a relentless onslaught of riff-laden rock, barely pausing for breath. From set opener Hole through to the concluding Out Of The Black, every tune seemed to be a firm fan favourite. The performance was effectively a 70-minute encore, something quite remarkable considering the band’s self-titled debut album was only released in August of last year.
Accomplished entertainers, the pair certainly aren’t lacking in confidence and attitude, summed up by bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr’s swift delivery of a middle finger to some pillock tossing his beanie on stage. The passion and zeal witnessed as both Kerr and Thatcher assault their instruments generated a captivating stage presence and an undeniably epic sound to boot.
To call the gig an impressive experience would be an understatement without doubt. The duo’s ability to not only pen a belter of a tune but also to deliver it in the ferociously enthralling way in which they do is impeccable. The future really does look bright for this intoxicating young partnership and the level of attention being garnered from critics and music fans alike should come as no surprise.
words GETHIN THOMAS