On the strength of a somewhat epic fun gig a couple of years at The Barrowlands, and the fact that they fall straight slap bang in the middle of my rock music preferences (heavy but a hint of blues/pop sensibilities), it was a pretty easy decision to snap up a ticket when their current tour was announced.
The big question was how would two guys, despite the racket I know they can generate, fare at filling the cavernous SSE Hydro, which isn’t renowned for having the best acoustics.
But before I answer that, it’s worth touching on the support acts.
Black Honey were up first and having done a little pre-listening I was looking forward to hearing them live. They strutted on stage and certainly didn’t look like the scale of the venue had awed them in any way, delivering a short sharp set. One to watch out for in the future.
At The Drive-In were next up. Colour me unimpressed. I wasn’t a fan going in and this did nothing to sway my mind. It’s not the music, it’s that screechy shouty voice that puts me off and it certainly didn’t lend itself to a venue the size of the Hydro (maybe he was just badly mic’d though). That said, they did seem to be pretty popular with a lot of people streaming in when they started. Which was good as it meant the queues at the bar were short.
And then it was time for Royal Blood. Suffice to say that yes, they did fill the Hydro and pretty much blew the damn roof off whilst they were at it. It always helps when the crowd was well up for it as well and seeing that translate to the band always adds that extra something to a gig, transforming the crowd to a surging mass, hands in the air, quite a sight in what can sometimes be a bit of a soulless place.
And then, before I realised it, they were into their encore and then it was time to go. I walked out surrounded by beaming smiles, and cheery banter.
I’d suggest for any up and coming rock bands wondering ‘how to do it’ take a look at Royal Blood. Their act, regardless of having a new album/new songs to play, was the same as it was when I saw them at the Barrowlands (and looks the same as the videos I’ve seen of them at Glastonbury). They aren’t two guys trying to be rock stars, they are just two guys up there playing the music they love, as loud as possible, having fun and loving every minute of it.
As did I!