Royal Blood


Tonight is a special occasion for Manchester gig-goers. Royal Blood are in town, whose debut album was the fastest selling rock album since ‘Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’, selling over 40,000 copies in its first week. It’s their first headline tour and with their album success, they are here to prove a point that they are as incredible live as they are on record.

The crowd are anticipating a magnificent night and for some of them, this is their first time seeing the Brighton duo. Mike and Ben are welcomed on stage with a hair-raising ovation. Mike approaches his huge amp rig with his bass in hand and starts to establish some feedback and dives straight into ‘Hole’. The crowd bop their heads but don’t seem to engage. A poor decision opening with a B-side in my opinion. ‘Come On Over’ is up next alongside ‘You Can Be So Cruel’ and still the crowd are pretty stationary to what you would expect from a heavy rock gig. Then things liven up with the introduction of ‘Figure It Out’, a more renowned number of theirs. The circle pits open up, people are being tossed, pushed and thrown around. This is more like it. The slippery floor of The Ritz has turned into a battleground.

However the crowd seem to retreat a little as another B-side ‘You Want Me’ has wriggled itself into the setlist. You can’t help feel that the band are trying to fill time having only one album worth of material. People see this as an opportunity to visit the overpriced bar. This is until they hear the anthemic ‘Little Monster’. People down pints and run into the mosh pits just to be a part of the action

The gig has really livened up now. Even following songs ‘Blood Hands’, ‘Careless’ and the new single ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ have been adopted by the crowd as their own.

Ben Thatcher stands on the thrown of his kit with his arms aloft in the air as if he is conducting the crowd to open up for the last two songs. The crowd gladly respond, opening up a mosh pit that covers the majority of the venue. The opening riff of ‘Loose Change’ reverberates around the Ritz. The sound created by the two piece is deafening; it feels in such a way that their could be five people on stage playing. Mike thanks the Mancunian faithful and introduces their last song of the evening; ‘Out Of The Black’. Ben climbs the barrier and dives onto the first few rows whilst Mike intricately fingerpicks the riff to the song as he waits for the drummer to regain his usual position. As soon as his stick hits the snare, carnage is created. It seems fitting that their debut single is the song that ends all this evening.

Not playing an encore seems to be becoming a tradition with newer bands and Royal Blood aren’t appearing to be breaking that tradition. They applaud the crowd from the balcony’s to the stalls and lethargically walk off stage after an energetic performance. Screams for more are heard but nothing could top that set for atmosphere. The lighting bursts back on and techies start to dismantle the onstage gear. Soaked through teens filter through the back doors onto Whitworth Street West in awe of the performance they have just witnessed. You can’t help but feel the next time they play a Manchester date it will be an arena. All in all, a royal performance at The Ritz.

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Matthew Cooper

University of Chester Music Journalism Student / Drummer Guitarist and Synthesist / Gig Goer