The number of people wearing t-shirts of the headline act of the night was incredible. Whether these had been bought from the official merch stand or the man with a blanket directly outside the venue is an interesting question. Nevertheless, the majority of these fans immediately rushed to the front to prepare for later and so watch the impressive support act.
First up were Los Angeles’ Mini Mansions [8/10], playing slinky and sensual psychedelic pop, with the band’s most popular song of the moment, ‘Vertigo’, opening the night. The quality of the track is unprecedented, but the performance on the night was slightly marred by the trepidation of a possible Alex Turner cameo, which turned out not to occur.
One of the standout moments of the set came when the band reeled out a slowed down, brooding cover of ‘Heart of Glass’, putting an intriguing twist on an old classic which seemed to prick the ears of those not yet impressed by the bands catalogue. The intensity of the band seemed to grow exponentially throughout their set, with the final track ‘Freakout’ living up to its name and bringing about a psych odyssey to close the support slot.
The most unfortunate aspect of the support were an isolated group of fans who decided to very loudly shout undeserved abuse at the end of each song. This came across as incredibly petty and unnecessarily soured the mood of the night. One wonders why they did not simply walk to the bar if they did not want to watch the hardworking band.
After the as expected set-up break, it was time for the band we’d all been waiting for. And by that I mean the first band to finally give some hope for the future of British rock and roll: Royal Blood [9/10]. The band played every track from their acclaimed debut album and more, having the confidence to play B-sides and non-album tracks, which were as warmly received as the old favourites.
The ability of the duo to control a crowd and own a stage seems so effortless and unreal, with every single person in the crowd seeming in awe with what they are seeing. All of their songs could easily be the biggest song of a lesser band, and so the circle pits which began at the start of the set did not finish till long after the band had played their final notes. ‘Come on Over’, ‘Careless’ and ‘Little Monster’ were particular highlights, drawing an incredible amount of blood, sweat and tears of joy from the Royal Blood faithful on the dancefloor.
As the night grew older and both the fans and the band grew tired, the gaps between the songs grew ever longer, with intense trepidation seething amongst the spectators. The band did not need to say a single world to keep the fans in under their control, with so much respect and admiration for such a new band being offered by the devotees.
The night drew to a close with a thundering rendition of ‘Out of the Black’, ending with the duo both perched atop Ben Thatcher’s drum kit, pounding it with bare fists in the same vein as they have been pounding on the doors of the mainstream. With such an impressive live show and a barnstorming debut album, there’s no reason to think the band won’t, after conquering Britain, set their sights on world domination.