Review: Royal Blood at Portsmouth Guildhall

Royal Blood at Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture by Paul Windsor
Royal Blood at Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture by Paul Windsor
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When a duo steps up to the really big stage, there’s always the worry that they’ll be able to feel like they’re filling the space.

Any such concerns about Royal Blood are put to bed early on in this set.

They’re riding high on the confidence of winning a BRIT last week for Best British Band, and it shows.

Singer/bassist Mike Kerr has a little more swagger about him than when the Brighton-based pair honoured a previously-postponed gig at The Pyramids Centre in early January.

And Ben Thatcher has definitely got the chops behind the drum kit.

They also boast an impressive lighting rig that crams an aircraft hangar’s worth of equipment onto a Guildhall-size stage.

The riffs are heavy, yet still carry a tune – Come on Over and the louche Loose Change are particularly effective, while the closing Out of The Black is given an extended intro and coda that allows the guys to lap up the sold out crowd’s deserved adoration.

The only worry is that they are really milking everything they’ve recorded so far. The set comprises of the full album, bolstered with three B-sides and a cover.

Admittedly, they lay waste to T Rex’s 20th Century Boy in some style. And the B-sides all slot in nicely – they have the chutzpah to kick proceedings off with one of them, Hole, while One Trick Pony boasts a slick Southern rock-style bit of slide, erm, bass at the start.

The debut album is great, but it’s not a classic, and there is filler.

Here’s hoping that they can take some proper time out at the end of this touring cycle and come back with a killer second album. Then they can cut that little bit of deadwood and play a set that will truly leave crowds reeling.

Support act Mini Mansions brought their own brand of swagger to proceedings.

Featuring Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman, this LA trio’s psych-funk warmed up the crowd nicely, demonstrating that they deserve more than the status of a side project.