By Emily Ricalton
After breaking into the music scene in 2014 with their highly nominated album, ‘Royal Blood’, which was released just a year after the duo had formed, Royal Blood have absolutely dominated the rock genre, showing original bands how simple, yet complex heavy music can be. They definitely proved this right when I was fortunate enough to see them live on August 10th at the Newport Centre during their Reading warm-up shows.
Now, if I have to be honest with you, I’ve only ever seen Royal Blood once. I know, shocker. This was actually four years ago during their 6:00pm mainstage set at Reading Festival. They were good, but they weren’t exactly amazing. I was left a bit disappointed, especially after the release of ‘Royal Blood’, which published songs, like ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Out of The Black’, that were full of aggression and life. However, the band managed to redeem themselves for me after the 2017 release of their second studio album, ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’. The three year wait of this anticipated album was definitely worth it. I mean, it was without a doubt one of my favourite releases of 2017. Each track was perfectly constructed and lyrically magnificent. The single bassline and drum work that was composed for this album flowed so beautifully, it wasn’t a shock that it reached number one in the 2017 UK’s album charts. It was an album of smooth, clean and passionate rock music, and because of this, I just had to see them live again.
Despite this need to see them live, I did manage to miss their November 2017 tour, making their August 2019 tour a perfect time to see them play again. And, when I say perfect, this concert was something found in relation this definition. It was a very good gig.
Of course, doors opened at seven for this concert, welcoming a variety of different people who had come together to see one extremely talented rock band – myself included. Just an hour later, the stage welcomed their first and only support act of the night, a girl-rock band from Liverpool, The Mysterines. And as their Instagram bio states, the band pronounce their name in the same way that we say our favourite mouthwash brand. Interesting, right? Anyway, the three-piece band, consisting of members Lia Metacalfe, George Favager and Chrissy Moore, reminisced their music within the 1990s grunge genre. Their songs demonstrated restriction, frustration and a strong hatred linked towards teenage problems and issues. It was highly enjoyable. Their short, but sweet set showed a sense of anger that younger audiences could definitely relate to, making it so symbolic of grunge rebellion. The band almost reminded me of a Hole remake. The band’s dynamic uses an independent female singer to dominate and undermine an all-male band, a construction of which Courtney Love would certainly approve of.
In my opinion, this supporting act definitely suited the heavy-rock genre that Royal Blood bring to the music industry, making them a perfect supporting act to these small warm-up shows. If you haven’t heard of them or listened to them already, then I definitely recommend you do so. Their music can be found on either Spotify or Apple Music, so check them out when you get to the chance to, especially if you are a dedicated Royal Blood fan, just like I am.
After The Mysterines had finished their hour set, it was time for the dynamic duo, also known as Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr, to step on stage and show South Wales exactly what they are made of. The Brighton band conquered the start of their set with the smash hit ‘Out of the Black’, transitioning into ‘Come Over’ for their second track, helping to show the crowd that their original album is still as good as everyone remembers it to be.
It wasn’t only original album tracks that the band played throughout the night, but they also played the majority of their hits found upon their second album release. And, believe it or not, they were as well received as the songs from ‘Royal Blood’. The band played songs such as ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’, ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ and ‘Lights Out’, helping to hype the crowd up and get them moshing to songs that express a sense of pure fury and rage, descriptions of which make such iconic rock songs.
These definitely weren’t the only memorable songs of the night. The band in fact did introduce us to some new songs that will be released with the coming of their third studio album, which, at the moment, still remains extremely undercover and secretive. These highly anticipated songs, that were titled ‘Boilmaker’ and ‘King’, were of a musical sense that will not disappoint Royal Blood fans. The two tracks seemed like original and usual Royal Blood tracks, but this time they featured an intelligence and polished attribute that was so unlike previous songs that the band had published before. It was almost like this band had been in the profession for an extremely long time, not just the mere 6 years that they’ve actually been together for. I can tell you now, this band only gets better with every album that they release, and this new album will be something that impresses a range of new, old and critical rock fans. It will be something that we should all look forward to within the music industry.
All in all, this gig was a smash, making it an event that improved my expectations of Royal Blood, especially in the sense of the bands that I’ve seen live. The band finished their set with their highly ranking hit, ‘Figure It Out’, waving the crowd off with a song that everyone knows and can definitely sing along to. The ideal goodbye to an excellent concert, in my opinion, anyway.
Royal Blood have now finished their short August 2019 tour, with Newport being their second show, starting the leg off in Southampton just a day before I was able to attend this last minute event. The band finished their tour off just four days later in Margate, just a little more than a week until their debut headline set at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival. Royal Blood will play before The 1975 on both the Friday of Reading Festival and the Saturday of Leeds Festival. Two iconic and unique sets that I don’t recommend you missing. If you’re at RANDL this year, then I definitely suggest that you go see Royal Blood dominate the mainstage arena, it is without a doubt going to be something that will make festival history, especially in comparison to the last time they attended Reading and Leeds Festival in 2015.