Royal Blood + Mini Mansions @ Civic Hall Wolverhampton, 11th March 2015

RB HEADER (1 of 1)

In three short months Royal Blood have gone from small club venues to larger 3000 capacity ones, and the fact tonight’s gig sold out in a matter of minutes shows they are destined to make the next jump to even bigger halls.

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On the back of a hugely successful year, 2015 has started with the Brighton duo scooping accolades at the Brits. Since I last saw them at the Birmingham Institute nothing much has changed, the same stage set, the same set-list but a bigger crowd. Even the tickets have remained a very reasonable £17 (which is unheard of these days) and merchandise is reasonable with t-shirts at £20 apiece (again most now charge £25 upwards).

mini mansions (1 of 3)

Support for these UK dates are by the very watchable Mini Mansions, formed some six years ago by Michael Shurman during a sabbatical from Queens of The Stone Age. A three-piece of keyboards, bass and drums/guitar they are hard to compare to others, but have they most angelic vocal harmonies, with easy on the ear melodies and a version of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ that is easily as good as the original. With minimal back-lighting, a large neon logo light, their (too short) thirty minute set is over too soon.

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Their new album “The Great Pretenders” is out later this month. I did ask them on the merchandise stand if they plan on more UK dates and they just said “sure”, I’m not sure that the Black Country lingo transcends well to those from the City of Angels.

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Promptly at nine, Royal Blood enter the stage, Ben Thatcher standing looking at the crowd, drink in hand, trademark baseball cap on, while his counterpart Mike Kerr straps on his guitar. Opening with “Hole” I still watch in awe at the sounds Mike gets from a bass guitar, granted he has an effects board the size of a small car but it’s something that defies logic, the sounds he creates.

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They play for just over an hour, which is fair given they’ve only released one album to date. There’s no encore, just a straightforward set. The incredible “Ten Tonne Skeleton” is full-on and at times it’s hard to believe the aural feast is being created by two people, incredible and of course the show closer “Out of the Black” nearly takes the roof off, with a good number of crowd surfers keeping the stage security busy.

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Obviously comparisons have been made to White Stripes, and I’m sure they will continue but who cares if they are ‘indie’, ‘rock’ or whatever, they make refreshing music. Most people are anxiously awaiting the next album from Royal Blood. It could be that ‘difficult second album’ or it could catapult them into orbit.

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Both seem genuinely nice fellas, each taking turns at the end to enter the pit and meet their fans, making that connection. It’s a great show, more about the music than fancy lights, just how it should be. I for one can’t wait to hear the new album.

 

Setlist

Hole

Come on over

You can be so cruel

Figure it out

You want me

Better strangers

Little monsters

Blood hands

One trick pony

Careless

Ten tonne skeleton

Loose change

Out of the black

 

Review: Glenn Raybone

Photographs: Lee Allen

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