The Metro, Sydney NSW
July 20th, 2017
Support: Concrete Surfers
Walking up to The Metro, I wasn’t too sure what I was in store for since I had never listened to Royal Blood, or their support act, Concrete Surfers before, but I was even more confused when I saw look of the people being let into the venue. Royal Blood, come to us all the way from Brighton, England and are currently in Australia to play at Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay as one of the headlining acts; and for those who decided to skip the festival, (or for those lucky enough to get tickets), the boys treated Sydney-siders to a one night sideshow that was completely sold out.
As I looked around, I was expecting to see a crowd of typical hipsters and your regular Splendour and Coachella style attendees, but I was completely surprised to see that there really weren’t that many younger people at this show. While it was 18+, I saw very little people of that age. This may sound as if it is a bad thing, but by no means did I think it was at all — it somewhat excited me to see that the music I was about to listen to appealed to such a large variety of people and all different ages which is almost somewhat rare to find these days in a rock band, or maybe that’s just me.
Once I’d found a place on the upstairs balcony to sit and watch the show, I was ready to see what Concrete Surfers had to offer as they were first to play. Having never heard of them before, I was quite open minded, and once they started playing, I have to say the open mindedness turned to disappointment. The Brisbane natives had a bit of an awkward start to their set, not having any techs to help out, resulting in the speakers making that terrible popping noise that is never good to hear. With the technical difficulties out of the way, the band was able to start playing and their catchy tunes got my foot tapping and the bright and colourful lights caught my eye, but that’s about where it stopped for me unfortunately. The crowd had no energy, and it appeared to be a similar case for the band as they mostly looked to the floor and they weren’t overly interactive towards the audience. I could hear and see people continuing their conversations throughout the songs that were being played, aside a few people bopping their heads and enjoying the sounds that were filling the room. I have to give it to the boys in Concrete Surfers, as they took their set back at the beginning in their stride and continued on, doing the best that they could with a crowd that seemed unresponsive even when spoken to by lead singer, Sean Foster.
During the break, the crowd started pouring in heavily in the blink of an eye, as I had seen somewhat of a half filled crowd, now turn into a completely packed out floor and upper area, overflowing to the bar and balcony that I was sat at. There was the beginnings of a chant that people would start and no one would catch on to until the setlist was placed on the ground, which began the chant “Royal Blood! Royal Blood! Royal Blood!”. Giving the fans exactly what they wished for, the lights went out and what could only be described as a late 70’s, early 80’s themed song played, one which was catchy and had a strong build to it before the duo appeared — Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher. Everyone cheered loudly as the guys took a moment to look out at the crowd and soak up the energy before heading straight into their opening song, “Where Are You Now?”
The fans came alive and were finally starting to jump around and get into the music, singing along to the lyrics, and showing that they weren’t a sleepy lot of people after all. LED Lights that doubled up to be flashed as strobes illuminated the room, moving and dancing in time to the beat of the drums that Thatcher was hitting with such precision to create what seemed like ten different sounds at once. The energy in the room was now something that was recognisable and with the more energy that Royal Blood fed out during their opening songs, the more wild people became.
I had originally thought that “Lights Out” — the second song of the night had received the best crowd response but boy, was I wrong, it was only the beginning. This song was a highlight for me however as it did have such a strong energy from both the crowd and the band alike. It was one that I found myself dancing to without even realising which I knew would mean I was going to be in for one hell of a good show if I was already finding myself wanting to dance and sing along. I was sold. It was throughout the next few songs on the set that I witnessed the forming of circle pits which were rather large as well, I might add, and the mass of the floor were going absolutely wild. Even the older fans who had mostly been stood around, just watching and singing to the bands music, started getting into things and dancing.
With a well thought out setlist, every song had a new sound to it, ranging from faster and more energetic tones, to songs with slower notes. The boys in Royal Blood aren’t ones to talk too much, but when they took the time to stop and talk to everyone who attended just before “Figure It Out” they gave us a sense of their personality, being humorous and thankful of everyone who had turned up, and even seeing Thatcher participate in doing a shoey just because he could.
This was another highlight song for me as it had me dancing again, wishing I hadn’t waited so long to find out about these guys. But one of the biggest highlights for me was as I watched the duo perform, I noticed the unique facial expressions Kerr had while he played the bass and sang. It had me interested and captivated. Normally you’d see singers looking out to the crowd, as if to be feeding off their reactions, yet this was not the case this time. There was a certain intensity behind his expressions and it was something that to me showed absolute passion, almost as if Kerr was in his own world, yet still being ever present in the moment.
The techniques that were displayed by both Thatcher and Kerr were outstanding, both men showcasing their talents to no end, leaving the crowd chanting for one more song even after the show was all over. Armed with just a pedal board, bass, clear vocals and a drum kit, Royal Blood easily make it sound as though there are several more members than there really is. Which I won’t lie — even had me fooled into thinking there was someone secretly playing guitar.
There is no doubt in my mind why they have won many awards for their music and their tours sell out almost instantly. Having just announced a new tour next April/May playing even bigger venues, I can honestly say that you’ll want to get tickets to see these guys or you’ll regret not going.
Review by Heather McNab
Royal Blood Setlist
Where Are You Now?
Come on Over
I Only Lie When I Love You
Hook, Line & Sinker
Hole in Your Heart
Figure It Out
Ten Tonne Skeleton
Out of the Black