It’s safe to say that Royal Blood have done extremely well for themselves in such a short period of time, the Brighton rock duo formed in 2013 went on to release their self-titled debut album in 2014 which hit number one in the UK album charts an saw the band release numerous hit singles from the album whilst touring like crazy hitting up all the Academy sized venues across the country as well as many major festivals. Back in June the band went on to release their second studio album ‘How Did We Get So Dark’ and once again saw the band top the UK album chart, and now the band are currently on the biggest tour of their career so far which sees them headline 16 arenas across the UK with At The Drive-In and Black Honey as support.
I headed down to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff tonight for the opening night of the tour and when I arrived at the venue there were thousands of excited fans queuing up patently outside the venue as I headed in to see up and coming Brighton rockers Black Honey open up the tour.
Black Honey are a female fronted rock band from Brighton made up of Izzy Phillips, Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor and Tom Dewhurst and tonight they had a solid 30 minute set and played their hearts out as their set was filled with dirty pop-rock music which verges on the dreamy side of things and songs like ‘All My Pride’, ‘Madonna’ and ‘Somebody Better’ certainly caught the attention of the crowd.
However it was their recently released single ‘Dig’ which caught my attention the most, the song is truly amazing and builds on from the bands back catalogue and easily smashes each and every song they have released in the past to pieces , if you have yet to hear the song yourself check the video out on you tube to see the bands Tarantino inspired video and also prepare yourself to be lost in the dreamy chorus.
Performance wise Black Honey like to keep things simple, they are not the kind of band you are going to see going crazy running across the stage but that is because they don’t need to as their music is nice and laid back like they are and it suits them, their set came to a close perfectly with the slowly addictive ‘Corrine’.
Up next were At The Drive-In a band who released their third studio album ‘Relationship Of Command’ back in the year 2000 an album which is classed as one of the most important punk-rock records of its generation, after the album was released the band various sold out live shows and became well known for their epic turbo charged live shows which often saw frontman Cedric Bixler climb up and jump off every object he could find on and off stage, within a year of the album release the band split up and went in two directions with members of the band forming two rival bands The Mars Volta and Sparta.
At The Drive-In reformed briefly in 2012 to play Coachella Festival but soon split up again and then in 2015 the band decided to give things another go this time without founding member Jim Ward in the band and they have now just released ‘In*ter a*li*a’ which happens to be their first album in 17 years and have also announced their first headline UK tour in what seems forever for March 2018.
I have personally been waiting 17 years to see At The Drive-In live so tonight I was pretty excited moments before the band took to the stage and by the time they left the stage I was not disappointed as the band came and smashed their way through their 40 minute set like they were headlining the arena tonight.
Each and every band member was on form tonight but it was all eyes on Cedric Bixler for the majority of the show as he is up there as one of the most energetic and entertaining frontmen ever, the band opened with ‘Arcarsenal’ and within minutes it was clear to see that despite being older the is still as crazy and energetic as before if not more, and straight away he was climbing up and jumping off the amps, drum kit and anything else that caught his eye and when he’s not jumping off things he’s using his microphone and microphone stand as prop to throw around the stage whilst also throwing himself and rolling around the stage himself whilst executing every lyric to perfection.
The set At The Drive-In played was a good mixture of old and new songs with ‘No Wolf Like The Present’, ‘Pattern Against User’, ‘Hostage Stamps’, ‘Sleepwalk Capsules’, ‘Call Broken Arrow’, ‘Enfilade’ ‘Governed By Contagions’ and the epic fan favourite set closer ‘One Armed Scissor’ which saw Cedric Bixler sarcastically say to the crowd “We’ve got one more song then you can tell all your friends about this terrible band you saw”, before charging across the stage and unleashing mayhem for the next 4 minutes.
It was a pleasure to see At The Drive-In tonight and they gave it their all and showed no signs of slowing down, the crowd however did not take to them tonight but then again being a band as heavy and hectic as at The Drive-In supporting an chart topping rock duo like Royal Blood was never going to be an easy task and I am sure the band can’t wait to be back in the UK in March to play to their hard core fans at their own headline show.
Royal Blood have worked hard to get to where they are these days and they have done it in quite a quick time but after seeing them tonight it is safe to say that Royal Blood were born to headline arenas and give it a few years and they will be headlining the likes of Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury festival.
The duo took to the stage to massive cheers from their fans and wasted no time kicking things off with ‘Lights Out’ a song which perfectly showcases the duos talent with the banging drum beats from Ben Thatcher and fuzzy bass lines from Mike Kerr and not to forget the epic vocal range from Mike Kerr which got the crowd bouncing up and down during the sing-a-long chorus which saw Mike Kerr sing out “My eyes are still burning red, so turn the lights out, you’re not so hard to forget with all the lights out”.
As their set progressed the epic stage show and production Royal Blood have for the tour shined through with an impressive lighting show of lasers which gave a massive 3d effect depending on where you were stood in the arena, to the massive screen above both Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher which shown various live images of the band and various other things, there was even a moment when Ben Thatcher whacked a massive gong with a huge flaming drum stick.
For the majority Royal Blood sailed through their set playing some top songs such as ‘Where Are You Now?’, ‘Come On Over’, ‘You Can Be So Cruel’, ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’, ‘She’s Creeping’, ‘Look Like You Know’ , ‘Little Monster’, ‘Blood Hands’, ‘Sleep’, ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ and many other rocking numbers but a little glitch appeared when they started ‘Hole In Your Heart’ and shortly into the song Mike Kerr realised he had been handed the wrong bass, this was handled well and the song was soon started over.
I feel Royal Blood are up there with the likes of Muse and Foo Fighters when it comes to playing arena rock and looking around at the crowd tonight I would imagine that the majority of people in attendance are also fans of these bands.
Overall Black Honey did a great job of opening the whole UK tour, At The Drive-In brought the mayhem and confused the crowd, whilst Royal Blood came out and proved exactly why they are now headlining arenas and brought an massive stage show full of lights, an impressive laser show and played all their hits plus more.
Black Honey 4/5
At The Drive-In 5/5
Royal Blood 5/5
Review By Trigger