Royal Blood to bring UK fame to the Fillmore
British duo Royal Blood are looking for UK fame in America
by: Bob Forte
British rock outfits, such as Foals, Biffy Clyro, and Wolf Alice, have all become household names across the pond. Each not only regularly sell out arenas and amphitheaters in the UK, but they’re also headlining stages at revered music festivals such as Glastonbury, and Reading and Leeds. Despite achieving dizzying heights of fame and success throughout Europe, these and other rock oriented acts still find themselves struggling to translate their immense overseas popularity to similar levels of stardom here in the United States.
Royal Blood, the West Sussex, England based duo comprised of Mike Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums), find themselves currently attempting to work through this peculiar malady themselves. The band has already pocketed some notable music industry hardware, having taken home the 2014 NME awards for Best Live Band and Best New Band, as well as the Brit Award for Best British Group that same year. Kerr and Thatcher have also walked away from the Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds stages themselves as one of the most buzzed about bands at those hallowed music festivals multiple times since 2014.
Despite not achieving similar accolades stateside, Royal Blood haven’t exactly been hiding under a mammoth pile of rocks here in the America.
Yet like many of their modern day UK rock brethren, Royal Blood are only now beginning to see their star rise in North America.
The root cause of this may simply be attributed to the fact that the younger generation in this country continues to be heavily invested in R&B, pop and even country music. Neither Kerr nor Thatcher likely spend much time contemplating the machinations of the music industry, the idiosyncratic nature of millennial culture, or even their own meteoric rise. Instead, the duo comes across as surprisingly grounded, humble, and permanently transfixed on sharing one hell of a rock and roll musical ride with each and every fan that attends one of their piquant live performances.
Whether they’re playing to 20,000 of their head bopping countrymen in the U.K. or the two thousand or so crazies they’ll be face-to-face with come June 14th at the Fillmore in Charlotte, Royal Blood always manage to deliver the exact type of sweat drenched, lascivious, and intoxicating live show that any fan of rock music could easily become hopelessly addicted to.
Royal Blood are currently in the midst of winding down the eighteen-month global tour cycle tied to the support of their sophomore record, 2017’s How Did We Get So Dark? The band’s follow up to their wildly successful self-titled debut, which spawned hits singles such as “Come on Over” and “Figure It Out” was released just over a year ago this week.
Instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel or use their initial success to produce some kind of avant-garde Jack White or Black Keys inspired amalgamation, Kerr and Thatcher chose to simply expand on the sonic palette and direction of their debut.
Lead single “Lights Out” treads on familiar ground, yet it still manages to come across as almost an organic evolution of one of the band’s previous hits, “Out of the Black”. Thatcher and Kerr do manage to stretch their proverbial musical wings on the new record with tracks such as the funky organ driven “Hole in your Heart” as well as the slower burn of the R&B inspired “Sleep.”
Don’t be fooled though, Royal Blood have and will continue to remain at their best when channeling the spirit of the stripped down, dirty, bluesy rock and roll legends that served to inspire them such as Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, and Cream.
Tracks such as How Did We Get So Dark’s lead single “Lights Out” and the ready-made for the live stage “I Only Lie When I Love You”, easily serve to remind the listener exactly why they fell in love with Royal Blood in the first place. Frontman and bassist Kerr recently commented to online music outlet Noisey that new track “Where Are You Now?” was penned as a tribute to the first time he ever heard a song that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and made him either want to dance or kick someone’s arse.
Who: Royal Blood / Turbowolf
When: Thursday June 14, 2018 / 8:30 PM
Where: The Fillmore / Charlotte, NC / 820 Hamilton Street