Royal Blood | 10.05.15

live sm_Royal-Blood_251_2015105Bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher are, like most successful rock duos, a fascinating study in contrasts that completely complement each other.

 



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Ready Room, St. Louis

Already firmly ensconced as U.K. rock gods when they warmed up crowds for none other than the Foo Fighters here in the States, Royal Blood is currently on their own U.S. tour of gloriously small venues. And if you were at St. Louis’s Ready Room on October 5, you got to see them play the self-described “no-frills entertainment venue” like it was Madison Square Garden.

Bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher are, like most successful rock duos, a fascinating study in contrasts that completely complement each other. Kerr, whose basslines sound like one giant guitar imbued with magical riff powers, is 100% rock star, stoking an already fiery crowd that was in the palm of the band’s hand before the doors even opened. Conversely, Thatcher is the ironic counterpoint, smiling bemusedly at his partner in crime when he’s not beating the hell out of the skins with blunt precision and groove.

Opening the set with radio stomper “Figure It Out,” the band started out crackling like a live wire and managed to sustain it through the frantic and furious riff-rage of “Come on Over.” The Muse-esque “You Can Be So Cruel” found the band finally switching up the loud-quiet-loud arrangements, while the ’70s style Thin Lizzy rhythms of “Loose Change” proved the band knew more than one way to propel a killer hook.live singer2_Royal-Blood_428_2015105

Because the band is touring under their Warner Bros. debut, the set list consisted of mostly songs from that effort, so what the show lacked in length, it more than made up for in extended jams and near-perfect hard rock songwriting. And when the band launched into “Ten Tonne Skeleton” with Kerr singing “Come loose like an animal/ Fired out like a cannonball,” the crowd was quick to transform the track from song lyrics to marching orders.

The set came to close with a brakes-off version of the jackhammer-syncopated “Out of the Black,” which found the band having the extremely good taste to morph into Black Sabbath’s classic rocker, “Iron Man.” At its conclusion, Royal Blood left the building without an encore because, quite frankly, there was none required.

Opening the show were Oxford, Miss., garage rock heroes Bass Drum of Death. While there were a few diamond-in-the-rough gems in the set, the vocals were lost in the guitars, and the band spent as much energy pushing through a muddy mix as they did on their performance. | Jim Ousley


Photos: Greg Artime

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