CONCERT REVIEW : ROYAL BLOOD – O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024

English rock duo, Royal Blood, brought their ‘Back to the Water Below’ tour to the O2 Academy tonight and it promised to be a great night.

Their act was somewhat unique when they blasted onto the scene a decade or so ago but has influenced similar acts to try the two person, many sounds recipe. Others, such as KT Tunstall had made use of effects and looper pedals to great effect but the Royal Blood lads took it to another level.

Kicking off the evening where Liverpool based Crawlers and their alternative rock based sound. They went through the social media stratosphere when they put the song ‘Come Over (Again)’ on TikTok in 2021 and the reputation continues to grow.

Holly Minto on vocals roars her love of Scotland as they pulverized the O2 Academy with some thunderous bass and bass drum that shake your very soul… each pulse of bass or kick drum resonated like an additional heart beat!

Minto manipulates and works the appreciative crowd as she manically jump and spins round the large stage; her energy and enthusiasm is boundless. The crowd, who appear very knowledgeable of the band’s work, respond in kind with singing the lyrics back at Minto and synchronised hand clapping on her demand.

Liv May on bass is cool as f**k as she drives the band with some impressive bass work and she looked every inch the rock star with two tone hair and the swagger of one many years older… female bass players always seem really cool for some reason.

  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • Crawlers  O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024

Sitting to the rear of the stage was the metronome of the band; Harry Breen on drums. He kept things ticking along with Liv May for a very tight rhythm section; effortless and efficient.

Bringing the riffs and power chords was Amy Woodhall who, like the unassuming drummer, worked tirelessly and her expertly executed guitar playing was a reflection of her persona on the night. It was cool, collected and never flustered. She never took over nor hid away… she stood at her station and just rocked!

A very driven set was over all too quickly but there is no doubt that they’ll be back soon… the Glasgow crowd will insist upon it!

The stage crew were immediately into action and the Royal Blood set up was brought front and centre. Minimalist was the key to the rig; an impressive drum kit up on a riser stage right and a simple microphone stand overlooking an array of technology that would help deliver the Royal Blood signature sound.

As the band readied themselves for their entrance the massive spotlights at the side of the stage burst into life and bathed the stage in the brightest white… it was BRIGHT!

Two silhouettes entered the light a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Ben Thatcher made his customary walk to the stage edge to acknowledge his adoring fans before making his way to the engine room of the band… the drum kit.

Mike Kerr gave a wave of salutation and the countdown was complete… it’s Royal Blood time!

There was no slow beginning to settle in; there was no safe song; it was straight into face tearingly loud rock and the fans loved it. This was loud and brash; it was tuneful and unashamedly Royal Blood(esque).

It was a dream start for the lads who, within the space of a few short minutes, had whipped the fans into a frenzy… game on!

Song 2… let’s rename it ‘Chaos Theory’

During ‘Chaos Theory’ Ben Thatcher makes the short walk to the front of the stage and demands the parting of the Academy Sea (of fans) and throws his drum sticks into the channel he had demanded. He then climbs down from the stage and, much to the annoyance of the venue security bails over the pit perimeter barrier and into the crowd.

What ensued for the next 60 seconds was sheer chaos and delirium on the venue floor; mobile phone cameras were obviously rolling as some fans wanted to document the time their hero stood before them. The more sensible fans kept their phones in pockets and savoured the actual moment for themselves and not through the small screen of a phone.

  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024
  • ROYAL BLOOD O2 Academy, Glasgow 11th June 2024

Then, as quickly as it began, Thatcher was back where he belonged – behind his drum kit. A cracking bit of theatre and a moment that those centre stage fans won’t forget.

The lads didn’t let up for a second; save for a brief guitar issue, and absolutely smashed it. Both of them know how to work a crowd and please the photographers, The rock n roll poses of Mike Kerr and the playfulness of Mr Thatcher were a joy to see and Ben Thatcher managed a few interactions with the photographers in the pit.

In terms of number of songs the set list looks short but in reality it was about 2 hours 30 minutes due to the song lengths; the big hitters were obviously all there and the close out was the magnificent ‘Figure it Out’.

A cracking gig by two lads (and their crew) at the top of their game and supported by a fantastic band in Crawlers. Top notch entertainment in a cracking venue played to an adoring crowd is always a winning combination and tonight hit every one of those criteria.

Royal Blood promised a good night but what they delivered was actually a great night and more power to them.

 

Review and Photographs by John Brown 

 

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