The first time when ROYAL BLOOD made an appearance in Finland was at Ilosaarirock, and I have heard it was amazing. So, when I heard that the British jewelry of garage rock was coming to make their first own gig in our country, I knew immediately where I’d have to be there that day. Their impact on the music scene has been massive with only two released albums.
The opening act DEMOB HAPPY was British as well, and I believe this psychedelic rock band was a great choice for warming up the audience. It was definitely a tough spot to open up for a band like ROYAL BLOOD with limited space on stage, but DEMOB HAPPY did what they could, and they did it really well. I personally enjoyed when the singer/bassist Matthew Marcantonio provoked the Finnish audience just a little bit by describing the atmosphere similar to being at a dentist’s appointment.
The band may not be too well-known by the mainstream just yet, but I can see them making their way there. The riffs went sometimes to almost stoner-like moods, still giving room for catchy song progressions and skillful playing. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication, I was only able to see the beginning of the setlist. They still managed to leave a positive impact on me, especially with their latest single “Autoportrait”. If I had a chance to see DEMOB HAPPY at their own gig maybe in a smaller venue, I would definitely have a better look at them.
Okay, then it was time for the main act ROYAL BLOOD to enter the stage with “Where Are You Now?”. Let’s just say, that the sound was immense. Mike Kerr‘s bass guitar combined with efficient use of pedals and Ben Thatcher‘s drum pounding simply makes your head nod. Or in this case probably your whole body. After the first beat was hit, no energy was saved from the performance.
After the first three songs, it was time for “Lights Out”. The first single from their latest album seriously kicked you when performed live. The stage lighting suited the band perfectly and gave some extra for the audience, especially after the bit stripped-down setup of DEMOB HAPPY.
When you are seeing a band live, more is more. Ben Thatcher gave us a nice drum solo at the end of “Little Monster”, he was seriously beating those drums. Apparently so much, that some stage personnel had to be there from time to time to adjust the drum set. But what really got everyone’s attention was Ben getting up from his drum throne, getting a mallet and hitting the giant gong behind the drum set.
Mike Kerr didn’t spend too much time giving us speeches between the songs, but when he did, he seemed like a totally different person. He’s been given an amazing stage attitude when playing the bass, but when talking he seemed like a really humble guy. He told us how he appreciated the clean air and clean water in Finland. He seemed truly happy about people being at Kulttuuritalo to listen to them, and how people at the bar had been so cool with them before.
Of course, he also had a deep meaningful speech: “Ben’s drunk everybody. As simple as that.”I don’t know how they managed to do that, but ROYAL BLOOD somehow added more fuel to the fire as the gig was reaching its end. “Figure It Out”, the last song before the encore, was proof of that. There’s definitely a reason why it’s one of their most well-known songs. After that, they went backstage to get some cheers and came back with “Ten Tonne Skeleton”.
Before they started the last song of the night, one of my favorite moments of the gig happened. Mike had made a statement before, that the people sitting down should enjoy the gig while they still can. ROYAL BLOOD peered the audience who were sitting down and insisted them to stand up. Only after that, it was time for “Out Of The Black”. I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending.
So overall, the gig was just brilliant. My only complaint is about the mixing. At some points, the bass sound tended to get a bit muddy, but fortunately only for little moments. If you ever have a chance to see ROYAL BLOOD, I highly recommend you to figure what the band is about out.
- Where Are You Now?
- Come on Over
- You Can Be So Cruel
- Lights Out
- Loose Change
- I Only Lie When I Love You
- Little Monster
- How Did We Get So Dark?
- Hole in Your Heart
- Blood Hands
- Hook, Line & Sinker
- Figure It Out
- Ten Tonne Skeleton (encore)
- Out of the Black (encore)