Review & Photos: G. Rossington.
On the back of a successful Summer headlining the likes of Truck Festival, Y Not Festival, a successful tour across Europe with Muse and last month’s release of their latest album ‘Back to The Water Below’, Royal Blood brought their mighty Rock n’ Roll Circus in to the Midlands City during a Sold Out UK Tour.
Opening up tonight are Hot Wax, the punky 3-piece from Hastings. Made up of Tallulah Sim-Savage (Vocals), Lola Sam (Bass) and Alfie Sayers (Drums), they provided a 30-minute riotous set that was well received by the early arrivals which was busting at the seams by the end of their set.
The stage is then cleared to make way for tonight’s headliners. Cheers of delight as the drum set arrives on its elevated riser. A few minutes after 9pm, the house lights dip and ‘The Ecstacy of Gold’ by Ennio Morricone blasts out over the P.A.
Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr arrive onstage and launch straight in to ‘Mountains at Midnight’ swiftly followed without a heartbeat by their classic single ‘Come On Over”. From the opening bars, the room is already bouncing along in sheer joy. Having honed their craft over the years, it is a slick opener and from then on in, the set doesn’t falter one iota.
Their recent fourth album ‘Back To The Water Below’ has been well received by fans and critics, and is showed off tonight with a good smattering of tracks from it being aired. ‘Shiner In The Dark’, ‘Tell Me When It’s Too Late’, ‘Triggers’, ‘Waves’ and the upbeat yet mournful ‘Pull Me Through’ are all performed to a great response.
Second album, ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ and their third record ‘Typhoons’ are equally shown off with three tracks from each. Both ‘Hook Line And Sinker’ and the phenomenal ‘Lights Out’ shake the foundations of the recently renovated Hall. After a drink is thrown on stage and narrowly misses Mike Kerr’s set up, he asks us not to waste them or the gig will have to be stopped. “But speaking of drinks, here’s a song about one” he states as they kick in to the epic ‘Boilermaker’.
The frantic ‘Trouble’s Coming’ and the funk-stomp-romp of ‘Typhoons’ again see the entirety of the stalls bouncing. There are circle pits galore, crowd surfers and even the seated balconies are now up on their feet singing and swaying along.
Of course, their classic self-titled debut album is also given an airing. It is bizarre to realise this album turns 10 years old in 2024 as the tracks still stand up today. ‘Loose Change’, ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ and ‘Little Monster’ are powerful, but the biggest celebrations of the night come at the end of the set.
To close the main set, ‘Out of The Black’ is thunderous. It sees drummer Ben Thatcher come to the front of the stage, separate the crowd to create a path and runs through to the sound desk and back again, posing for various selfies and high fives along the way.
Matching the reception and velocity in the performance, the encore is finalised by a stunning rendition of ‘Figure It Out’. Again, from the opening bars, the room is bouncing, everyone is on their feet and the room is belting the song out with the band. Perfect harmony.
With a handful of dates left on this UK tour the band will then move on to the USA and Australia before the end of the year. Hopefully, more festival appearances will be on the cards for the 2024 season also.