On Monday night at Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution Live, the English one-two punch of headliner Royal Blood and opener Turbowolf brought a much-needed infusion of hard rock to South Florida’s music scene.
Royal Blood, a hard rock duo from Worthing, England consisting of bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, has built a following in recent years through opening on major tours for massive rock bands like Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys. After the success of the group’s positively received self-titled debut album followed by last year’s How Did We Get So Dark?, the group made its first stop in South Florida on Monday Night.
In a pleasant surprise, opening act Turbowolf exceeded expectations with a set of heavy, riff-driven rock that drew influence from psychedelia and electronica. From the opening notes of first song “Cheap Magic,” the crowd was hooked, and it stayed engaged throughout the band’s entire 45-minute set. The only real issue during the group’s time onstage was some shoddy sound mixing that rendered lead singer Chris Goergiadis’ voice into a piercing screech when he reached for higher notes.
The turnout was impressively strong for the show, with a long line formed around the venue before the doors opened. By the time Royal Blood took the stage for its headlining set, the crowd was fully amped up, and the floor had reached claustrophobia-inducing levels of congestion, limiting standing room and fresh air.
After the duo opened the set with three consecutive tracks from last year’s How Did We Get So Dark?,the atmosphere within the venue heated up (literally and figuratively) with the first track of the night from 2014’s Royal Blood, “Come on Over.”
This was an energetic, enthusiastic and sweaty crowd, and once Royal Blood’s set got going, fans on the floor quickly conceded to crowd-surfing and moshing. It wasn’t long before I retreated to the back of the venue in search of a spot to watch the show with some breathing room, which proved to be a good decision when the crowd continued to grow more boisterous as the evening progressed.
Drummer Ben Thatcher was commanding behind the kit from atop a platform and a pleasure to watch, but the most remarkable aspect of the set was frontman Mike Kerr’s lead bass playing. Kerr utilized effects pedals to transform what’s normally seen as a background instrument into the primary force behind the band’s music, jumping up and down octaves and often transforming the tone of his bass to mimic that of a lead guitar.
Towards the end of the show, with a tequila bottle in hand, Thatcher told the crowd, “I feel like we’ve made many friends tonight.” If the duo’s warm reception was any indication, Royal Blood will be met by those same friends and many more the next time they visit South Florida.
1) How Did We Get So Dark?
2) Where Are You Now?
3) Lights Out
4) Come on Over
5) You Can Be So Cruel
6) I Only Lie When I Love You
7) Look Like You Know
8) Little Monster
9) Hook, Line & Sinker
11) Hole in Your Heart
12) Loose Change
13) Figure It Out
14) Ten Tonne Skeleton
15) Out of the Black