Four years into their career as ‘Royal Blood’, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher brought their heavy guitar riffs and sonorous drum solos to Alexandra Palace.
The band introduced their set at one of the most difficult venues in the UK with a spectacular performance from support band, Black Honey. Although Black Honey are not as well-known and hearing their music was quite alien, to my amazement, Izzy Baxter, lead singer of the Brighton-based band delivered a brilliant performance. Her vocal range and stage presence gave goose bumps.
The second support band, At the Drive-In, all the way from Al Paso Texas, definitely gave a performance with a bang. Lead vocalist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, displayed a performance that shocked not just me, as I found out by looking around and realising that everyone else had the same confused facial expression. Lobbing his microphone across the stage and throwing himself around like a fish out of water, he delivered a hectic show full of unexpected turns and fear for his safety. His voice could barely be heard over the sounds of the other band members’ instruments. However, guitarist, Omar Rodríguez-López, was the saviour of the band’s performance. The things he did with his guitar were unimaginable. You could not take your eyes off him as the focus on his face was apparent and sweat dripped down it.
The change of atmosphere could be felt in the room as At the Drive-In’s set came to an end, everyone knew what they had come here for and they were so very soon to be on stage, right in front of us. The air was dense as everyone poked their heads over the crowd to getting a better view of the stage.
The smoke hung in the air as all the lights suddenly crashed into darkness, the band members entered the stage and the crowd roared, ready to jump, mosh and scream along to their favorite songs. The band began their set with a powerful performance of the song ‘Lights Out’ off their new album ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ released earlier this year. Mike Kerr’s shrieks, change of vocal range and tempo made the crowd go crazy and showed his level of skill and development since the release of their previous work.
The drummer, Ben Thatcher put on a show and gave the audience a taste of his incredible drum skills by banging out a raw, brutal drum solo during their performance of ‘Little Monster. He continued drumming for around five minutes, I have never seen someone with so much energy and stamina!
The rest of the gig consisted of the band performing the rest of their album alongside some of their older, well known and loved songs with an encore performance of ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ and ‘Out of the Black’. Although Mike seemed to be a bit awkward on stage, it suited his persona and he worked it well.
The band’s stage presence skills and vocal/instrumental abilities really showed their development as a duo. The way the stage was laid out also assisted the band as it only consists of two members, therefore getting a crowd of around 10,000 people pumped up can be very difficult, especially in a venue like Alexandra Palace.
The show was full of unexpected turns, laughs and confusion but also jaw-dropping performances that left me in pain and with multiple bruises, but also very satisfied with my experience.