Live Review: Royal Blood – The Art Bar

A hotly tipped band for 2014, Royal Blood only have three tracks that have been publicly released. Despite this, the duo powered through their set with constantly engaging energy, with the space created by the duo’s small footprint providing Kerr with a platform for some lively guitar showmanship. Their performance of “Out Of The Black” to finish their set was a particularly good example, with Kerr cranking his amps up for an intense final jam of the main riff that appeared to leave the crowd in a shocked state of awe.

For the first 5 minutes of Royal Blood’s sold-out set at the Art Bar, I kept asking myself: where on earth is the guitarist? The reality is that Mike Kerr, bassist of the Brighton-based duo, uses various octave-up effect pedals in order to mimic the sound of a guitar, and the result is quite astonishing. By switching between the two sounds, Kerr was able to kick in the fat low end of his bass sound to double his heavy Muse-esque riffs, all satisfyingly projected by the venue’s large PA system.

The issue is, however, as tight as the duo are, they are inevitably going to be limited in terms of textural variety by their instrumentation. Whilst it works incredibly well in the context of a shorter gig at an intimate venue such as the Art Bar, it will be interesting to see how this translates in a longer set at an arena, say. It may be that Royal Blood will wish to keep their “primitive” and punk-like aesthetic, and therefore choose to remain on the more underground scene. Either way, Royal Blood completely lived up to the hype, asserting their presence in 2014 with an aggressive statement that illustrates why they are a one to watch.