No egos, no frills just pure rock is what greeted fans who turned out at Newport Centre on Tuesday evening (March 3, 2015) to see the recently crowned Brit Awards Best British Group winners, Brighton’s Royal Blood.
The concert kicked off with a half hour plus set from Los Angeles’ Mini Mansions featuring Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman , keyboardist Tyler Parkford and drummer Zach Dawes.
The trio took to the stage adorned in a wardrobe of eye-catching suits ranging from pure white to floral. Their lyrical content was just as surreal. One particular line “I wanna live in a world with a zombie all day” raised a smile when placed alongside such musical gems as Creeps and Vertigo, fusing psychedelia with Beach Boy style harmonies from their forthcoming album The Great Pretenders.
Newport were undoubtedly ready to step up a gear when Royal Blood appeared on stage. Both guitarist and vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have a dynamic stage presence that goes beyond their artillery thumping baseline.
As the duo performed favourites Hole and Come on Over, a sea of fans formed around the stage to carefully focus their phone cameras on their music heroes amidst a flurry of bouncing mosh-pit heads.
Of course, the band encouraged as much participation as possible, Kerr yelling into the crowd “Newport – Are You Ready?” before grinding the chords of his guitar Hendrix-style into fan favourite Little Monster from their album Out Of The Black.
The rock didn't stop for over an hour, the band only breaking away once from original material to pay homage to Marc Bolan with a raucous rendition of 20th Century Boy.
Royal Blood more than proved that they were a force to be taken seriously with killer tracks Better Strangers and Blood Hands and played with flair devoid of gimmicks or bad attitude. Hats off to them, they deserve all the success they are getting and Newport was evidently very pleased to receive them for an evening, long may they reign!
- A version of this review by Andy Howells was published in The South Wales Argus on March 5, 2015.