Royal Blood Blow Eardrums For Glastonbury 2023 Pyramid Stage Set

Brightonian rock duo Royal Blood have been in the press for all the wrong reasons recently, their scathing treatment of a lacklustre audience response to their brand of bass-driven rock at the recent BBC Big Weekend last month had them defending their scolding of crowd for not showing enough enthusiasm. And so fast forward a few weeks, following a few opening slots on Devon-hailing rockers Muse’s UK tour, they followed The ChurnUps and preceded headliners Arctic Monkeys on Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage. And boy, did they bring it!

Royal Blood @ Glastonbury Festival 2023

Mike Kerr of Royal Blood @ Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)
Mike Kerr of Royal Blood @ Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)

Limited to just 60 minutes, the duo had a lot to get through as well as putting on a show to beat the naysayers. A tough call immediately after a surprise set from Dave Grohl-led Foo Fighters. But they brought it, and then some. Touching on all four of their LPs, including a taste of their forthcoming LP Back To The Water Below by way of latest single Mountains At Midnight, frontman and bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher prove that it doesn’t take an army or gimmicks to put on a mesmerising show on Glastonbury’s largest stage.

The set leant heavily on the duo’s debut LP but they threw in anthems from sophomore LP Typhoons by way of singles Trouble’s Coming and the driving turbulence of Typhoons.

Both Kerr and Thatcher exuded the bravado they’re quickly becoming known for. Gone are the humble boys from Sussex that can’t believe they’re here, rather brothers who expect to be topping the bill. That said, Thatcher came out wearing an Arctic Monkeys tank top, getting those in the crowd hanging out for the night’s headliner on-side from the outset.

Both men made sure to use the vast stage, popping down to the front walkway infront of the TV cameras to get as close as possible to the audience – not so easy when you’re either meant to be beating a rhythm or singing!

Take then for what they are and you won’t be disappointed. Royal Blood do rock tunes. Heavy, heavy (sometimes funky) rock tunes. So heavy in fact that it was the only set of the four I watched in sequence (Texas, The ChurnUps, Royal Blood & Arctic Monkeys) that I was forced to pop earplugs in for. I could still feel every bone in my body vibrate with the pounding bass lines Kerr put out. Magic.

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Words and photos by Kalpesh Patel at Glastonbury Festival 2023.

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