The Hordern Pavilion transformed into a rock playground on Wednesday night as Royal Blood, the notorious UK rock duo, graced the stage in support of their latest album, Back to the Water Below. Along for the ride were local acts Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and The Buoys, as supports for the entire Australian run. It’s been a long 5 years since their last headline run in Australia, and releasing two new #1 albums in their absence, fans are chomping at the bit to see them once more.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, hailing from Perth, took the night up a notch. As the second support act, sthey brought their unique brand of heavy drums and intense rhythms to the stage. Their setlist, featuring tracks like Tally-Ho, MundungusNootmare (K-I-L-L-I-n-G) Meow!, and Hymn for a Droid, showcased their ability to seamlessly blend heavy and (dare I say) psychedelic elements, the perfect addition to the evening by complimenting the headliners. There is no doubt that they gained many new fans tonight.
Before the show, the audience was treated to a prelude of Rage Against the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, and Arctic Monkeys, over the venue PA – they sure know their clientele tonight!
As the lights dimmed, Prodigy’s Firestarter signalled the arrival of tonight’s headliners. Purple hues bathed the stage as Royal Blood emerged, front man Mike Kerr sporting sunglasses, and drummer Ben Thatcher, true to form, donning his signature hat. The set kicked off with Out of the Black instantly lighting up the crowd. From the first chorus you can hear the venue singing over the band, and this doesn’t stop for the remainder of the evening. As the first song is wrapping up Thatcher jumps down from his drum kit and motions for the crowd to split in two. He then hops down into the masses and joined his fans, snapping photos.
A brief hello led straight into an enormous set featuring hits like Come on Over, Boilermaker, Typhoons and Lights Out, each met with a louder roar from punters. During moments of banter between Kerr and fans, he says ‘a lot has changed in the years we haven’t been here but one that remains the same are the shoey chants.’ As he has newfound sobriety, he asks for a volunteer from the mosh pit to do one for him as he plays us the next track. One of the highlights of the night was Little Monster, which was met with howls from the crowd so loud that Kerr steps away from the microphone to the front of the stage to allow us to sing.
In a 2017 interview with The AU Review, both members expressed their hatred of encores, Mike Kerr said ‘we’d rather do our thing and destroy the place, and leave’. Although Royal Blood are now an encore band! Returning with unexpected twist as they were joined by Chris Young from Psychedelic Porn Crumpets for Waves, from their latest album. A collaborative ballad showcased not only the seamless synergy between the two bands but also the exceptional vocal prowess of Kerr. The evening reached its pinnacle with the chart topper Figure It Out, ending on a truly unforgettable moment as fans dug deep and gave every last ounce of energy.
Royal Blood’s performance tonight, was nothing short of spectacular. The duo demonstrated an unparalleled mastery of their craft only honed by years of dedication and touring. From the power of Troubles Coming and How Did We Get So Dark? to the emotionally charged encore featuring hits like Waves and Ten Tonne Skeleton, the night was proof of their evolution as musicians. The energy, the flawless execution of their extensive setlist, and the unexpected collaboration with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets created an impression that stayed with the audience long after the last note had faded. I lost count of how many times I exclaimed after hearing the first note of the next song, the hits did not stop coming all night. With an absolutely stacked 18 song set list, this was easily the best I have ever seen Royal Blood and it only makes me hungrier to see them again.