Off the back of their astronomical album success, this first headline tour from the Brighton two-piece had a buzz around it that most established bands would envy. After playing Glasgow and Sheffield in the past weeks, where better to start the November leg of the tour than the Manchester Ritz…
The venue was buzzing even before the band emerged; few people had made their way to the balcony, leaving the stalls absolutely heaving with fans, watered down beer, and high expectations. Royal Blood finally appeared just after nine o’clock, strutting to the front of the stage to pump up the crowd, before moving into ‘Hole’ to open the set. Truth be told, this was a questionable choice of an opener, a non-album track, and the crowd didn’t really get into it. The sound system in the Ritz did compliment them perfectly, but a very static crowd for this opener was quite worrying. ‘Come on Over’ and ‘You Can Be So Cruel’ to follow did get a better reaction, and by the fourth tune, ‘Figure it Out’, the place was bouncing. It must be the slippiest venue going, with about ten people hitting deck in the track, but it was well worth it.
You notice a quite Courteeners style stage presence about the boys. They don’t say much, just maybe the odd ‘How are we Manchester?’ yet the whole venue is rocking, and hanging on every word. ‘You Want Me’ was up next, and although it somewhat came across as a filler, it provided a break before what can only be called a tremendous second half run of songs. ‘Better Strangers’ gave a taste of what was to come. The bass absolutely throbbing throughout and the crowd lapping it up with no complaints, but it was the next run of songs that would leave everybody in a state of pure appreciation for the quality of these two. ‘Little Monster’, ‘Blood Hands’, and for me the highlight of the gig and their album, ‘Careless’ all followed. The fear of a poor crowd the opening song generated was now but a memory and you would struggle to find somebody who wasn’t either bouncing or in a mosh pit as the unrelentingly upbeat set continued into ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’.
If there were ever two songs a band on their debut headline tour needed to finish with to make a lasting impression, ‘Loose Change’ and ‘Out of the Black’ are the ones. You would never know this was arguably their biggest gig to date, and they handled it brilliantly. It’s not often an hour long set can satisfy a crowd to the extent this gig did. Even fans I spoke to who had bought tickets later on for up to £60 agreed it was well worth it. A truly massive entrance for one of Britain’s biggest new bands, and from here who knows where they could go? Definitely the ones to watch over the next couple of years.