Rock duo Royal Blood ascended into the 3Arena Sunday night for their biggest headline show in Dublin to date. The band who have built a devoted fanbase with their hard-pummeling rock have been known to put on some insane live shows and the 3Areana was no different. I’ll admit having seen the lads perform at smaller venues before and experienced the raw intense show they put on I was afraid that a larger venue would lose that intimate mania…. I was wrong.
Brighton four-piece Black Honey kicked off the night for their Dublin debut blasting straight into ‘All My Pride’. Front-woman Izzy Baxter (who popped outside before the show to give queuing fans posters and encourage them to stay warm) exuded sass and swagger with every hip pop and powerful point at the crowd. It’s difficult to connect with the crowd with a lengthy runway between you and the audience but she ventures as far out as her guitar lead would let her and wallops out as much charisma and oomph as possible. It’s an enchanting display as Baxter commands the stage with a daring poise that can only be admired. Their tracks, undoubtedly catchy with spaghetti western guitar wails it’s fiercely thrilling live. The hazy fiery ‘Madonna’ with it’s blazing guitar lines follows using the shrilling distortion and hysteria causing intro of ‘Somebody Better’ as its chaser. They belt out solid tunes that blend hazy dreamy melodies with shattering drums and scorching guitars. Baxter’s sultry vocals radiate over the dizzying instrumentation as she struts about exuding a fierce confidence. “Sláinte” she says while lifting her drink to the crowd, “did I get that right? … what’s the craic?..what is the craic though?” she questions before the steamy new single ‘Dig’. ‘Hello Today’ sparks a clap along among the crowd and you have to hear ‘Spinning Wheel’ live that’s all i’m going to say, it was dynamite. Black Honey are an exciting band for sure who amply coped with the large crowd and put on an exciting show. With a debut album due next year, I can’t wait to see what they do at a headline show here in Ireland.
At The Drive In followed and wow words can hardly describe the experience. Cedric Bixler-Zaval leapt rolled, kicked and wailed his way through the set. It was hard core brain assaulting mania and the crowd loved it. With his signature mic drop and kick trick as he strutted down the runway oozing swagger and attitude it was a swanky spectacle for sure. With tracks accelerated to neck breaking speeds they had the crowd pumped and ready to rock. “yeah that’s right tell your momma tell your nan” he shouts before the frantic ‘No Wolf Like The Present’. The crowd erupt into a blur of moshing heads and flailing limbs. “Can you feel it in your veins?, can you feel it in your teeth?, let me see your teeth” he bellows while the crowd scream back and you could for sure feel the sound pounding through your body bashing your senses. It was a mighty frenetic set that was unforgettable. Cedric Bixler-Zaval is tireless he doesn’t stop moving from climbing onto the speakers and karate kicking to springing into the air frantically. He gets the audience riled up and pumped. The mass of spiraling interweaving guitars pulverising drums and screaming vocals grip the crowd into submission, At The Drive In are a force to be reckoned with.
Royal Blood take to the stage as the crowd explode with screams and whoops. ‘Lights Out’ sets the fans alight. The duo have an impressive red laser light display which encased the band for the first track and with artistic screen images they were ready to make an impression. Every lyric, riff and drum roll was bellowed out by the crowd as frontman Mike Kerr takes every opportunity to strut down the stage to the crowd. There’s a lot going on from stage hands swiftly placing mic stands as Kerr moves about the stage to rapid guitar changes. Favourites from their self-titled debut album sparked massive cheers and huge sing alongs. Their fans adore them and make filling an arena like this easy for the pair. Kerr has grown into his frontman role and is taking it in his stride as he slickly blasts out those lusty beefy riffs. “I don’t believe this is happening to us tonight this place is huge” he admits before the explosive ‘Come On Over’. It’s a tireless set of moshing singing and hair everywhere. Ben Thatcher’s pulverising drumming is so powerful and mighty it sends the crowd into a frenzy of headbanging. With dashing backing singers introduced for ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’ these guys exude a new suaveness. They’ve learned a lot and for a two-piece filled the arena with their larger than life swagger. Track after track is announced to mammoth screams and whiplash causing headbanging. They pulled out all the stops from a dramatic clap along, shredding solos to a stick on fire hitting a gong. Royal Blood made sure they put on a show to remember. There was crowd surfing, pushing, fighting for the drum sticks Thatcher threw out followed by the “Olé, Olé, Olé” chant. The duo had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Though these guys have developed a rock and roll persona they haven’t left their humbleness behind “we feel very uncomfortable right now. Worst front man of all time. I’m a man and I’m at the front and that’s it.” Kerr admits before the knock out ‘Hole In Your Heart’ which sees Kerr relocate to the front of the stage to play keys. Kerr recalls their first time in Dublin where they got “so f**king drunk… I feel like we fit in here, I feel like we all drink the same”.
The crowd scream and stomp for the encore until Royal Blood triumphantly return with ‘Ten Tone Skeleton’ and the fierce ‘Out Of The Black’ which causes total anarchy among the crowd. Thatcher approaches the crowd stepping up on the barrier they fight over him and reach forward to grab any and every part of him so much so he says “whoa whoa hang on guys”. They leave the stage like heroes as the crowd bellow, scream and clap.
Royal Blood blew the roof off the 3 Arena. They steamrolled in and blasted out a cracking show losing little to none of the manic intensity of their more intimate shows.