Scene: Monday. May 7. Labor Day. Night.
It’s a breezy night in Brisbane city and thousands of people are slowly making their way to the Riverstage. Tonight will see British rock duo Royal Blood take the stage and judging by the faces on these punters, everyone is clearly excited.
Warming up the crowd just an hour before our main act is Sydney rockers Polish Club. And what seems cliche but completely necessary, the boys are also a duo and make it clear that they’re the perfect support for such big guns to follow. These guys pack a proper punch from the moment they lock eyes and belt into their first track. Crunching guitar tones that make the crowd go insane and smashing drums produced by what seems to be the happiest drummer I’ve ever seen.
With an obvious solid following, the crowd are with these guys 110% from the get go. Belting out song after song with hardly a moment to breathe in between. It’s no wonder the boys made the support.
The moment has arrived, the crowd up front are singing Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ as loud as they possibly can heralding the arrival of the UK’s finest rock duo. Singer and guitarist Mike Kerr throws his guitar strap over his shoulder and drummer Ben is now thumping out the opening beat to ‘Where Are You Now’ as it shakes the entire Riverstage. Mike, now with bass solidly in his grasp, starts to rip out that simple, yet beautifully effective riff that’s takes the song into full charge. The crowd, going mental by this point, are treated to two hit singles ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Come On Over’.
With only two albums, both consisting of just ten songs each and a sixteen song set to fill, we are seeing Royal Blood play more or less their entire catalogue. And no one is complaining. Slamming through some of their best tracks, including my own favourite ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ which pretty much rips the Riverstage a new one, to put it politely.
The band take a moment to recoup, with Mike taking to the microphone to interact with the crowd. Completely in awe at how many people come to their shows on the other side of the world, he tells the crowd “sorry if I’m a bit quite to you, I just don’t know what to fucking say, I’m just gonna play the songs the best I can.”
After smashing out crowd favourite ‘Figure It Out’ from their debut self titled album, they take off and disappear behind the back curtains. A couple of minutes pass and they’re back on stage jumping right into ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ and it sounds massive. This is already a set that most would struggle to beat but, of course, they’ve got one more. With Mike’s bass blasting distortion that screams across the crowd, Ben gives us four hits of the sticks and we’re into ‘Out Of The Black’. I’d waited years to see that song live and I promise you it was worth every moment. And that pretty much sums up my Royal Blood experience. Waited years, finally saw, completely and utterly blown away.
IMAGES (C) Dan Maynard