Live Review: Royal Blood / Mini Mansions, Rock City (11/03/15)

Royal Blood took their energetic, moody set to Nottingham’s Rock City. The band have shot to fame this year and for all the right reasons. They have a tremendous amount of talent. The jam packed crowd eagerly awaited the duo, not before being treated to support band Mini Mansions.

The support band, Mini Mansions are a three piece indie pop band formed by Tyler Parkford, Zach Dawes and Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman. Whilst not the heaviest band to grace Rock City, they certainly provided the crowd with an entertaining show which was full of unique covers and stripped back originals.

Sadly, support acts are too often cast aside or ignored as a precursor to the main event, and it goes without saying that the majority of the crowd were there to see Royal Blood first and foremost. Nonetheless, it is to the eternal credit of Mini Mansions that they managed to grab the attention of the crowd with their psychedelic and atmospheric pop sound. Whilst they were not the most energetic or heavy band, they played a good set and got the crowd’s blood flowing for the rest of the evening.

Royal Blood’s self-titled debut barely pauses for breath, with the exception of ‘Blood Hands’, and instead chooses to tear through song after song. Fortunately, their live set is no different. Royal Blood know what they are and don’t try to mask it with slow, forced covers. Whilst this led to an arguably short set, there was never a dull moment.

[quote]Royal Blood know what they are and don’t try to mask it with slow, forced covers. [/quote]

The two-piece entered the stage in wonderfully dramatic fashion, with Mike Kerr looking over the crowd playing distinctly metal leads before dropping straight into ‘Hole’, followed by ‘Come On Over’ and ‘You Can Be So Cruel’. Given the widespread success of the band not often granted to hard rock outfits anymore, you would be forgiven for thinking Royal Blood’s live set would be somewhat tame. Luckily, this was not the case, and every member of the crowd (barring those who chose to watch from the edge) was fully engaged in the mosh pits and head banging.

[quote]This was a rock concert, not a pop concert. [/quote]

In between songs, Kerr captured the crowd with feedback and harmonics. It might sound cliché, but no one would deny that it really helped set the tone of the gig – this was a rock concert, not a pop concert. On that note, Kerr never once stopped to tell us about life on the road or some mildly amusing band story. Rather, the menacing aura of the band was kept with occasional moments of total darkness, mixed with the aforementioned feedback and harmonics, before crashing back into the next song.

The gig ended with a fantastic rendition of ‘Out of the Black’, in which the whole crowd bounced to the staccato drum beat begging for more. Sadly, Kerr and Thatcher had to bid their farewells, but the crowd was not ungrateful, showering them with praise before leaving sweaty and exhausted. On stage, Royal Blood were just as they had been all night – menacing, moody, but not overly flamboyant, which perfectly fitted their minimalist set up.

 David Rowlands

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