A couple years ago a rare radio listen (I never listen to the radio) introduced me to “Out of the Black” which I immediately dug. This was the first “new” band I had been excited about for quite some time. That excitement grew once I found out all that sound was coming from just two dudes. What sent me even farther over the edge is when I found out Mike Kerr was essentially doing what Scott from Local H does but on a bass guitar (he is playing guitar and bass simultaneously on a bass and it sounds so fucking cool)!
I had no idea they were coming to town until the same coworker that recently hooked me up with Chevelle tickets clued me in. I also had no idea that they had released a new album on June 16th called How Did We Get So Dark? I had never seen Royal Blood and I had also never attended a concert at the Observatory North Park Theatre. After a couple failed attempts at buying tickets at the box office to save some coin this show was a done and done.
After Bob picked me up and we passed a wrap around line to park in a clusterfuck of a beehive garage across the street from the venue, we walked over to a newer eatery called Street Car Merchants to meet up with our fellow attendee JD. Once we were told it would be an hour wait for food we wisely walked across the street to Crazee Burger where I enjoyed a cajun burger with onion rings, a Dead Pan Pilsner and a “cookie” – wink wink. We had just enough time after this to live out our bum fantasy of brown bagging a tall boy Pacifico from the liquor store and walking down “memory lane” where Bob used to live.
The Observatory adjoins the West Coast Tavern and shares a bar/bathroom so I had severe déjà vu the second we walked in to use the restroom. Once Bob kept the tall boy train rolling by ordering a round of PBR we walked down to properly claim a spot to watch. We skipped the opening band Welles and by this time we were mere minutes away from show time so the place was packed. We managed to get a spot in the very back of the lowest section, which I’m sure made a lot of people happy since all three of us are over six feet tall.
Royal Blood’s stage show was the exact one that you see in their video for “Hook, Line & Sinker.” Two dudes and a backdrop consisting of a series of poles that light up in different configurations. They sounded exactly as good as they sounded on their albums and that is not a bad thing: straight ahead rock but with a unique setup. I’m sure the second round of PBR tall boys courtesy of JD did not hurt anything either. The only problem with the tall boys was that JD was ready for my round way before me and we had not yet heard “Loose Change,” “Figure It Out,” or “Out of the Black.” Of course right after I said, “let me wait until after I hear which song they will play next,” they ripped into “Figure It Out.” I thought I could sneak back to the bar immediately when they finished so started heading that way and what comes on? “Loose Change” – the song I wanted to hear the most! Then who do I see on the way to the bar? That’s right, my coworker with her fiancé that I had never met but felt like I had from all the chatter about him. I did manage to catch about a minute of the song and all was right with the world. My favorite moment came about here when Mike said, “Let me introduce you to the rest of the band,” then left the perfect amount of comedic timing beats followed by “Ben Thatcher on drums.” Then Ben came out from behind his drum kit and did this thing where he walked fairly far into the crowd on the hands of people holding him up…awesome. The show fittingly ended where my exposure to Royal Blood first started – with “Out of the Black.”
The next day I text my buddy Ross a picture from this show and he text me right back saying he was literally watching them on James Corden right at that moment and they were wearing the same clothes. My guess is that they filmed in L.A. and came down after the taping…or maybe they only own one set of clothes. Either way pretty random.
SETLIST: Where Are You Now?, Lights Out, Come on Over, I Only Lie When I Love You, Little Monster, Hook, Line & Sinker, Blood Hands, She’s Creeping, Hold in Your Heart, Figure It Out, Loose Change, Ten Tonne Skeleton, Out of the Black