It’s not often you’d want the roof blown off a brand new building, but that’s what Brighton duo Royal Blood did on Saturday night at Swansea Arena. Originally scheduled to be the first national name to grace its stage, after a minor date rearrangement they’re merely the first music headline act – but the wait was worth it.
Berkshire quartet The Amazons support with a short but sweet set of hits which prime a growing crowd – one that could have been bigger but for an unfortunately slow queuing system at the door – for the night ahead. Royal Blood themselves start later than scheduled, and the Arena auditorium is packed by 9 pm.
Typhoon and Boilermaker kick off the set, prompting fists in the air and pints flying. Swansea is up for this, likewise, Royal Blood vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, whose thunderous style and ferocious playing are relentless from the start. Lights Out and Come On Over come next in non-stop fashion, leaving the crowd and band barely a chance to catch a breath.
For just two individuals, they create a unique sound. Thatcher’s drumming is out of this world, while Kerr’s bass playing more closely resembles a lead guitar. Hook Line & Sinker follows Trouble’s Coming: there are moshpits forming and crowdsurfers galore. The duo on stage look to be enjoying themselves, professing to be thankful for the chance to “blow away some cobwebs” after four months without playing live. You’d never have thought: Kerr and Thatcher seem tight, faultless and geared up both vocally and musically.
New tracks Honeybrains and Million To One get their live debuts, peppered in between hits like Little Monster (with drum solo included) and How Did We Get So Dark?. The main set ends with three absolute belters in Ten Tonne Skeleton, Loose Change and Figure It Out.
The encore begins with the flamboyant Kerr sat alone at a piano, a total flip on the set so far, and All We Have Is Now sounding almost out of place, albeit beautifully performed. Limbo and the head-thumping Out Of The Black end the set at 100mph.
Swansea Arena, Sat 19 Mar
words OWEN SCOURFIELD photos ANTHONY CONWAY
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