Review: Royal Blood, O2 Academy, Newcastle

Royal Blood are on their way to their arena circuit after selling out the O2 Academy.
Royal Blood are on their way to their arena circuit after selling out the O2 Academy.

Less is definitely more in the case of alternative rock duo Royal Blood.

There might only be the two of them, but, like the White Stripes and Black Keys before them, frontman Mike Kerr and sidekick Ben Thatcher manage to produce a far more expansive sound than you’d think merely the former’s voice and bass-playing and the latter’s drumming would be able to muster.

Much of the time, Kerr even manages to conjure up the impression that there’s a guitar in there somewhere knocking out the blues-based, often Led Zeppelin-like riffs that form the cornerstone of what is already their trademark sound, and that’s no mean feat.

Less was also more as far as their set at the Academy last night was concerned.

They might only have been on stage for an hour, and their setlist only just crept into double figures and didn’t run to an encore.

But I can’t imagine so much as a single member of the capacity crowd there to see them will have gone away feeling short-changed.

From opening number Where Are You Now? to set-closer Out of the Black, the West Sussex act were given a rapturous welcome, and rightly so, as they were tremendous.

It wasn’t at all hard to see why they’ve had so much acclaim and so many awards heaped upon them since their formation in Brighton just four years ago.

Encouragingly, the handful of songs they played from their forthcoming second album, How Did We Get So Dark?, due out next month, went down every bit as well as the more familiar material from their self-titled 2014 debut, sounding much of a piece with their predecessors rather than straying into unfamiliar territory.

Last night’s show was one of just four they’re playing in smaller venues ahead of next month’s album release, including one in Southampton tonight and another in Leicester tomorrow.

But a 10-date UK arena tour, including a visit to the Leeds First Direct Arena, will follow in November.