Review: Royal Blood

Photo by Ezra Plymesser

The one thing on my mind after seeing Royal Blood is "How in the world can only two men make so much noise?"

I must admit, I've been a huge fan of Royal Blood since the release of their self-titled 2014 record. Little Monster was the first track I'd heard and I remember being intrigued by a sweet voice singing over such heavy riffs. I couldn't turn my car stereo up loud enough. When I got the notification that they were playing Bogart's, I couldn't wait to see if their live presence matched up to their recordings.

Needless to say, I was more than excited when I got to meet both members before the show. They exuded a humble and appreciative presence in just the few seconds we spoke. Right before the show began, I got a text from my dad that said "Drinking buddies!" followed by a selfie of him and lead singer, Mike Kerr, at a nearby bar. Apparently their charm worked on the middle-age men, as well. 

Opener, Welles, started the show off right with a Nirvana-esque sound and impressive stage presence. I went straight to his Spotify mid-set to remind myself that I needed more of his music in my ears as soon as physically possible. 

When it was time for the main act to hit the stage, an excited buzz could be heard throughout the room. Opening with heaving-hitting "Where Are You Now?" from sophomore album How Did We Get So Dark?, Royal Blood brought their English presence and left it all on the stage from the start.  Royal Blood has only been playing together since 2013 but their chemistry on stage is remarkable. Lead singer/bassist Mike Kerr draws audience members in with his alluring voice contrasted with deep and dirty bass tones, carrying the weight of both bass and lead guitar. Consisting of only two members, drummer Ben Thatcher fills out the sound by absolutely smashing his kit through the entirety of every song. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him, simply for the fact that he is relentless with his sticks.

Closer and hit song "Out of the Black" stole the show, extending into 10 minutes of pure, unadulterated rocking. Kerr and Thatcher fed off of audience energy and each other, and as the crowd got louder, they seemed to, as well. I was left, jaw wide open, in pure admiration of their craft. There was never a dull moment in the entire hour and a half set. This being my first Royal Blood show, I more than satisfied and still completely baffled that a group of only two men can rock so hard.