Royal Blood Reign Supreme In Manchester

Royal Blood celebrate their latest album Back To The Water Below hitting the top of the UK charts with a sold-out tour. Tonight we’re at the Manchester Apollo to see the Worthing duo blow the roof off this historic venue.

Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo

Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (Joe Jones)
Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (Joe Jones)

First up though we have HotWax. The up-and-coming trio (Tallulah Sim-Savage vocals/guitar, Lola Sam bass and Alfie Sayers drums) give us a short but savage set showcasing tracks from their debut EPs such as Phone Machine, Treasure and Rip It Out. Their mix of grunge and punk goes down well with the early arrivals and for such a young band they look remarkably comfortable playing one of their biggest gigs yet.

Hot Wax @ O2 Apollo

Hot Wax @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (Joe Jones)
Hot Wax @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (Joe Jones)

Royal Blood arrive on stage to a hero’s reception. Opening up with Mountains At Midnight, my first thought is how on earth are just two people making this much noise?! I say that in a good way! I am a seasoned veteran of rock gigs, but my word – this is loud!

Debut album favourite Come On Over, Boilermaker and Lights Out have everyone bouncing from the start. The band’s crossover appeal is reflected in the make-up of the audience. Appealing to both rock and indie fans alike, the mosh pits were more bouncy than aggressive, and fans sitting aloft on friends’ shoulders isn’t your typical sight at a heavier rock gig.

But make no mistake – Royal Blood rock, and they do it so well. After their infamous spat with the audience at BBC’s Big Weekend, it’s clear they are happy to be amongst their own fans as the dazzling lights behind them enhance the feverish atmosphere they create with absolute bangers like Triggers, Trouble’s Coming and Typhoons.

Momentarily slowing things down with new album track Pull Me Through, four albums in they are showing their versatility. They are at their best though when the pounding drums of Ben Thatcher and the heavy riffs by Mike Kerr are shaking the foundations of this building to its core. Their on-stage chemistry is exactly what you would expect from two lifelong friends. The epic Little Monster is followed by a solo from Ben, where he showcases exactly why he is one of the best drummers around. Having the drum kit set up at the front of the stage only emphasises his raw power.

The raucous atmosphere reaches a crescendo towards the end of the set but it doesn’t stop Ben getting involved in it himself. Parting the crowd like Moses and the Red Sea, he ventures into the standing area and opens up his own circle pit before returning to the stage to witness the chaos unfold. A trio of debut album-heavy hitters Loose Change, Ten Tonne Skeleton and Out Of The Black whips the crowd into a frenzy. The thundering sound they create is reverberating through my entire body and I’m still in awe at how just two people are creating this.

Returning for an encore with the gentle Waves, the melodic Shiner In The Dark before finally ending with their huge hit Figure It Out, crowd and band empty the energy tank on a night where both have given it everything they’ve got.

From their grassroots foundation in 2011, to performing on some of the biggest stages in the world, Royal Blood have cemented themselves as one of the best British rock bands of their generation and a must-see live act.

  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo
  • Royal Blood @ O2 Apollo

Review of Royal Blood at the Manchester Apollo on 20th October 2023 by Will Maxwell. Photography by Joe Jones.

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