What is with this East Coast weather? It’s June 7, and I spent a chilly evening (lows in the 50s) going out to see some music. Thankfully, the band was smoking hot, and Union Transfer was rocking hard. I’ve never heard a crowd at UT as loud as the crowd there last night. For who?
Royal Blood is the band’s name. They are a two-piece outfit out of Brighton, England. Mike Kerr plays bass and sings, and Ben Thacher plays the drums. But like the Japandroids, two guys can make a lot of noise, and these guys were blazin’. The band is just about to release their second album, and with luck, it will be the equal of their eponymous first effort.
I know the first album well as it hits my sweet spot: bluesy, hard rocking, with elements of punk, garage, classic rock, and other guitar-based sub-genres. If I were 16 (I’m not, I only write like I am), I would have simply said that they rock really hard. And that is so true. I’ve further damaged my ears listening to these guys in my car, and they didn’t disappoint in the live show. Loud? Oh, hells yes! I had plugs in and still had ringing in my ears when I woke up this morning.
I don’t know the origin of the band’s name, but it is cool and reflects the fact that the Brits still have royals and titled gentry. You know, guys like Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Rod Stewart – not exactly the knights of the round table, right? Better? You betcha! Regardless of the band’s name, these guys have become pretty big themselves, playing the festival circuit, being named Best Live Act and Best New Band by NME, and opening for the Foo Fighters last year. It was terrific to see them at UT, one of my favorite Philly venues.
The boys came out and just ripped it up. They didn’t play long (one hour), but they also didn’t waste time with encores and the like. They basically played the entire first album and about 6 new tracks. The crowd was jamming – lots of moshing and crowd surfing – and like I said, they were loud. If anyone is concerned that the world is only made up of hip-hop, pop and rap, Royal Blood is a nice blast of loud and aggressive rock ‘n roll. Old school, yes, but with a new update to it, and while you might hear references to things you know, it’s an original sound, not a retread.
If you want to read more about RB, here is a link to their website, which is cool and well designed: royalbloodband.com/site
Opening up for RB was a band that Tom Petty has glommed onto: the Shelters. Out of LA, these guys use the classic two guitars, bass and drums to good effect. We were impressed enough to consider them up-and-comers, and they were a worthy opening act. Here are some photos:
I’m off to see some other live music this weekend. First, it’s the Wayne Music Festival, which features the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, U2, Coldplay, and Led Zeppelin. Seriously, it has a few bands that have modest reputations, like Rusted Root and Huffamoose, but it’s FREE and about 10 minutes from my house. I’ll check out the Belmont Stakes in one of the bars, and then listen to some music. It’s supposed to be a gorgeous summer-like day, so who’s with me?
On Sunday, it’s off to Camden to see the Killers, Foster the People and Bleachers. I detest this venue, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and so there it is – BRP goes to Jersey. I’m going to wear a black beater t-shirt, and get a tattoo before I go so that I will fit right in. Seriously, I’ll be sure to bring plenty of cash and try to poker my face as I’m getting ripped off right and left.
Love ya all! Keep on coming back to BRP and tell your friends and family to join you. Later.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.