Music Reviews — 14 May 2014
Royal Blood:  No Guitars?  No Problem at Mercury Lounge

Royal Blood

A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
May 13, 2014

Concert Review: Royal Blood at Mercury Lounge

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With a moniker like Royal Blood, you might expect to find a death metal band spewing lyrics both loud and incomprehensible. But the band’s name is a bit deceiving and Tuesday night’s jam packed late show at Mercury Lounge revealed just two British bandmates on stage. In lieu of a traditional lineup, Royal Blood is minimally just a bass player and a drummer. But to scoff at their makeup would be just as foolish as making assumptions about their style based solely on their name- for Royal Blood is an inventive and downright awesome burgeoning live act, poised to explode on the music scene.

There was scant available room to move inside of the standing room only space, a surprise considering that this was officially the band’s first live show played in New York City. (They performed at Williamsburg’s Glasslands just one night prior). Formed in 2013, the garage rock duo was incredibly tapped to open some one-off shows for overseas for Arctic Monkeys toward the end of the year, coupled with a highly buzzed about show at South by Southwest just two months ago. Their reputation to date has continued to lend credibility and a good amount of hype to a rapidly ascending band with seemingly just a year of experience and just a four song EP under their belts thus far.

Shortly after 11pm, the band- fronted by vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher- began a blistering but abbreviated 45 minute set that showed but a glimpse of their musical prowess, meshing a variety of different styles despite only two instruments, in each of their eight songs. For artists who are virtually unknown, it’s easy to draw comparisons based solely on sound to more established acts, but rather than make those parallels, perhaps it’s more appropriate to plainly state that Royal Blood’s utterly inventive style simply evokes the best parts of rock music- namely infectious riffs and pummeling drum beats- with a bluesy and raw garage vibe that’s all their own.

Though you can currently hear the band’s first single “Out Of The Black” on whatever is left of rock radio, which fans in the house went bonkers for, the opener on this night- “Hole” – as well as the unreleased “Loose Change” were equally as eye opening. Fans in the know meanwhile went wild for “Little Monster,” but really there wasn’t much time for letting up as the duo rarely wasted time between songs and rarely acknowledged each other. Every note was timed with precision and the performance even in a venue this small showed a band with far greater expertise than their time together would indicate. Before the band returns to the states and begins playing much larger venues, do yourself a favor and download Royal Blood’s newly released EP right away. Just don’t forget about where you heard about them first.

- Dave Gendelson

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