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Royal Blood with Turbowolf: The Brits Burn Down The House with Pure Rock and Roll

Royal Blood with Turbowolf: The Brits Burn Down The House with Pure Rock and Roll

Royal Blood’s Instagram bio reads, “How can 2 people make so much noise?” It should also read, “ and sound so damn good?”

Royal Blood, along with Turbowolf, both of which hail from the UK, burnt down the house during their recent performance at the Fillmore Charlotte with a string of tunes that once again demonstrated that although we Americans invented rock n’ roll, it’s the Brits who perfected it, and continue to do so.

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, the guys who make up Royal Blood, are following in a long line of two men (or women) bands like The Kills, The Black Keys, and The White Stripes, but are bathed in more rock n’ roll swagger, and heaviness, than all three put together. Wielding a bass guitar as his weapon of rock n’ roll attack, Mike Kerr has all the coolness and charisma of Josh Homme, minus the photographer-kicking assholery. On record, Kerr’s innovative, and heavier-than-heaven sounding bass-come-lead/rhythm guitar licks are a brisk wash of fresh alt-rock air, and they sound just as cool live. The duo’s drum and lead bass combo rolls with a chest cavity pulverizing thump, and it filled The Fillmore’s hall with its leaden melodic pulse thunderously, yet never distorted or tumbled into a static distortion, even when the two pounded the lowest beats and notes in unison. Kerr’s crisp vocals and rapport with the crowd, coupled with Thatcher’s stoic drumming, make for a winning combination live. Kerr and Thatcher are obviously in love with what they are doing, and still a little in awe that their brand of stripped down hard rock and rollick take on the duo dynamic has struck such a deep chord with so many rock music fans worldwide.

“It’s amazing! Everywhere we go, it’s the same incredible crowd reaction. We are so grateful!” exclaimed Kerr during a break between songs, the setlist of which was a well balanced mix of tunes off their first two albums. Surprisingly, Royal Blood’s most arguably well know tracks, “I Only Lie When I Love You” and “Lights Out” were played during the first third of the show. It didn’t matter. Each song they played, as the concert unwound deeper into the night, worked the crowd into a higher and faster frenzy with spontaneous pogoing and crowd surfing breaking out with greater frequency as the show progressed.

The night’s energy didn’t solely revolve around Royal Blood’s cannonade of rock as openers Turbowolf, another booming band of Brit rockers, got the evening kicked off with a set every bit as powerful as Royal Blood’s. Turbowolf’s brand of rock differs from, yet in the live setting fully compliments, Royal Blood’s brand by being built around speed rather than weight. Punkish in energy and timing, yet almost 60s retro sounding in execution (not the least bit of which is fueled by frontman Chris Georgiadis’ Lennon-esque Liverpoolian sounding accent), Turbowolf blazes a trail of rock n’ roll retrograde that feels like a timewarp, but resonates like the future of alt-rock. The only drawback was that the band didn’t really get to dive too deeply into their larger and more fully flushed out catalogue of songs (Turbowolf has more album and material than Royal Blood at this point). A live rendition of their psychedelic classic “MK Ultra” would have been a brilliant juxtaposition to the rest of the evening’s thumping rock. Still, thumpers like “American Mirrors” and “Rabbit’s Foot” were worth their inclusion in Turbowolf’s setlist over slower tracks like “MK Ultra” considering the vibe of the night.

Rock n’ roll might be an American invention, but ever since The Beatles, Brits have been showing us Yanks how to take it to the next level. Turbowolf and Royal Blood are currently doing the same same thing in the world of alt-crossover-rock, and I say more power to our brothers across the pond.


Carolina's based writer/journalist Andy Frisk love music, and writing, and when he gets to intermingle the two he feels most alive. Covering concerts and albums by both local and national acts, Andy strives to make the world a better place and prove Gen X really can still save the world.

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