Gig Review: Royal Blood @ Arena Birmingham

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Gig day! Let’s have a checklist, yeah? Tightness in my chest? Check. Breathless and gasping for air? You bet. Adrenaline pumping as I surge through the crowd? Oh baby, you’d better believe it! However, this had nothing to do with the fact Royal Blood were playing Arena Birmingham, no, no, all these strange feelings were because my ticket was sitting on my mate’s coffee table, and I had to sprint double time to get there and back in time for the main event.

Royal Blood are a conundrum of a band. They’re a heavy-handed rock and roll outfit that even your dad will enjoy, surging to the very top of the music game: on the other hand, people seem to stick their tongue out because, well, I don’t know. This is quite bias, as you could present me a band with heavy riffs and loosely veiled innuendos about fucking as lyrics and I’d hail them as the next biggest thing, but hey, I’ll leave the technical jazz conceptual fusion to your weird mate Kevin.

 

Photo by Joseth Carter

 

However, the tens of thousands who’d shuffled into the arena loudly welcomed the band on stage, with the fuzz-tastic Lights Out kicking off proceedings. For a two-man operation, their sound and presence filled the entire stage in a barrage of lights, sound, lasers and Ben Thatcher. Despite the fact that the power duo share just a drumkit, a bass guitar and a top secret pedalboard, they created a wall of sound that shook the arena to its core. Seriously, during a much-needed Ben Thatcher drum solo, the screens were rattling under the force of his cowbell.

With just two albums under their belts, it must have been a stretch for them to construct an arena headling setlist. Nope. Again, bias speaking, but it was nothing but choice cuts. It’d be easier to list songs they didn’t include, but my policy on doing that is Don’t Tell, because that’d be Careless. But an 18 song setlist when they have two albums means that not many were left behind, but it made for a tight, flowing set that only allowed occasional gasps of air.

When How Did We Get So Dark? came out, I stuck my tongue out and chuntered on about second album syndrome. But this ugly duckling has become my most favourite swan in 2017, with Hook Line & Sinker, Where Are You Now?, Sleep, Hole in Your Heart absolutely stealing the show on Saturday evening. But the growth has been absolutely amazing, when I saw them in the Wolverhampton Civic back at the start of 2015 and it felt like Mike Kerr hid himself in his guitar, fully focusing on on the show. At the latter half of 2017, he is at one with his guitar, silkily moving up and down the fretboard whilst taking some time out to have a chat with the audience. There’s the rock ‘n’ roll cocksureness, but the disbelief that two lads from Brighton have made it this far.

 

Photo by Joeseth Carter.

 

What made this show extra special, including the fact that this is their biggest show to date, was the whole production value of it all. The flashing lights, the way laser showered the band, locking them in a strobelight prison of their own creation, the moving screen literally bringing the roof down and the hip swinging backing singers, giving the wall of sound that bit of extra oomph whilst giving a familiar air of that rock ‘n’ roll ooh la la. The growth & evolution of Royal Blood has been massive, from relative heavy unknowns to a global phenomenon, but they’ve grown into it without any kind of fuss.

I’d also like to pause it here, before we go to the explosive, creamy finale to yet again lecture you about moshpit etiquette, as it seems to be a ‘mainstream’ activity these days. First things first, it’s pretty simple: prepare to get knocked about a bit, and always pick up your fallen comrade. Don’t trample all over some poor fucker on the floor or come and shake everyone’s hand with a white hoodie draped over your shoulders warning about “elbows”. You’re in a mosh pit, you dull fuck. Second, there’s a time and a place, don’t just open it up because a new song is starting, open on the build-up, get stuck in on the drop. Third, if you’re gonna stand filming the mosh pit, don’t be shocked when you get driven into the middle of things – time waits for no mosh.

Right. Yeah. There.

The set was a mix of old classics and new favourites, with Little Monster, Come On Over, Loose Change, Figure It Out and Ten Tonne Skeleton sending the crowd into near frenzy. Brand new for twenty seventeen is something every RB fan has been waiting for; a Ben Thatcher drum solo. Also, he crowd surfed & took his hat off and I swear to fucking god I was shocked to see that there was hair under his hat. I assumed it was wires and motherboards. But from the first fuzz of Lights Out to the insanity of the extended Out of the Black finale, Royal Blood were at the very top of their game, pausing only momentarily to drink in the fact that most of Birmingham had showed up to say hello. There was also a tribute to Malcom Young, who had sadly passed on that day, with the boys blasting a bit of Back in Black for Birmingham.

It’s hard to see where Royal Blood go from here. Their appeal is stratospheric & their riffs are devastatingly powerful, even in the vast cavern of an arena. However, the betting man in me says that they’re only going to go up.

Ending the show, Mike Kerr said he hoped we all got laid, and well Mike, I’m still waiting.

Great gig though.

Top 5 Peep Show Moments

For a lack of a better term, Peep Show is generation defying. While most would point out something like Friends or even Game of Thrones would usually be the first guess, the unlikely successful sitcom introduced us to Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb), the most loveable pricks on television. Nowadays it’s hard to go anywhere without hearing a quote or trying to match the same laid back attitude as Super Hans which makes it all the more difficult to not only face that the show’s final season is about to air but that we have to cut its greatest moments to just 5 entries.

Jezed up the interview – Season 1, Episode 2

Where better to start off than an episode straight out the first season, an important one not only for the introduction of the hated Jeff Heaney but also the hilarious scene where Mark tries to get Jeremy a job at his work.

What follows is an absolute train wreck of an interview where Jeremy’s trademark ego comes out to play, trying to sell a pyramid scheme to his hopeful employer and calling out Mark for “pissing on my bonfire” and “fancying elves and pixies.” So if you’re ever in the same situation, just know you can’t screw up nearly as much as Jeremy. I hope. 

Best quotes #1 – “I like you, and if you can’t handle it, you can just..you know…fuck off.”

Too close for comfort – Season 5, Episode 2

If you’ve ever watched The Inbetweeners, another successful Channel 4 sitcom, then you’ll know how cringy protagonist Will and his antics are, especially anything sexual. Before Will though there was Mark, a slightly older yet just as awkward guy whose pursuits with women bring the show some of its most hilarious moments, the most notable probably being this office foreplay moment that includes a…chat about cheese? As Mark leaves the cupboard with post it notes and a stain on his trousers, viewers also leave with something gross etched into their minds.

Best quotes #2“Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. If she fucks him, I’ll kill myself.”

Gotta hans it to him – Season 3, Episode 2

The aforementioned Super Hand is arguably the show’s best character, providing some of the best laughs with Matt King putting on such a brilliant performance in his audition he managed to beat Russell Brand for the role! This moment showcased this perfectly, teaming up with Jeremy to try and get Mark sectioned to get the rights for a pub. “There’s a pigeon in Catalonia that’s in control of his legs” is all he has to say to make chaos ensue, showcasing the amazing chemistry between all the characters.

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Best quotes #3 – 

“Jez, can you tell me, yeah, as a mate, someone that knows me really well, is the bottom half of me on fire?”

Bark bigger than his bite – Season 4 Episode 5

I remember watching this episode when it aired, back in the days before Netflix was your number one stop for binge watching. The thing about this entry though is it’s pretty much the whole episode since it’s so eventful yet hilarious. From running over and killing the pet of a girl Jeremy is trying to hit on to trying to burn said evidence to then EATING said pet in front of said girl, the episode is so ridiculous in its premise yet I can’t stop laughing when Jeremy just tries to play it off as “undercooked, disgusting turkey”.

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Best quotes #4“This is like watching a porno. Except I can’t see anything, I haven’t got a hard-on and I want to cry.”

Did nazi it coming – Season 1, Episode 4

Making friends is difficult. All your worries before college or uni weren’t about surviving on £2 ready meals for a month, it was “will I have any friends”. Mark struggles just as much as anyone. Hell, the bloody episode is titled Mark Makes A Friend. While Daryl seems all lovely at first, just a minute into discussion he turns out to be, well, a nazi. “Oh bollocks. Of course, I can’t just make a nice, normal friend, that would be too simple” Mark says before his new pal shouts “Heil Hitler”. Could be worse I suppose…

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Best quotes #5“Jeff’s doing a joke, Jeff’s doing a joke, everybody quiet ’cause Jeff’s doing a joke!”

 

Big love, Liam x

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BCAYMI: November 2015

When I attempted, and failed, to make my series Blink (Clyro) And You’ll Miss It into a monthly thing, I kinda fucked it up. Despite being one of my most popular posts, there was something about it that just didn’t sit with me right, like the potential it had just wasn’t being used. Now after a few months of procrastination  careful thinking, I’ve brought it back! *insert one person clapping*

Not only will BCAYMI (see, it just rolls off the tongue) cover music but it’ll also feature film, TV and gaming content that means you’ll constantly be in the loop. Think of it as a smaller, less indie NME except my head isn’t lodged up Arctic Monkey’s arse and people don’t write bitchy tweets about me. Well, as far as I know.

Music

Featured Artist Of The Month

Codist

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To quote the world renown author Me, Glasgow trio Codist’s sound is like “if you put Biffy Clyro’s gritty, stripped back tone from Blackened Sky in a blender with Weezer during their blue album era”, not a small compliment for someone with half of one of those band’s name in their website name. With Chris Curry now joining the band to raise the number of members to 4, it’s exciting to see how the band will shape their sound of their upcoming album in addition to their upcoming gig at Glasgow’s The Hug And Pint this December. Codist 2.0, here we go.

Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

Top 5 New Tracks

1.Modern Baseball – The Waterboy Returns

If their Sophomore album You’re Gonna Miss It All was about being in denial about your problems then Philadelphia based band Modern Baseball’s new track is about admitting these issues and trying to move on from them. Full of sombre, personal lyrics, Brendan Lukens’ trademark nasally vocal style has never sounded so good.

2. Weezer – Do You Wanna Get High

Returning from the critical acclaim of their 2014 release Everything Will Be Alright In The End with a sound more reminiscent of their Pinkerton days, Weezer bring the crunchy guitars and ridiculously good lyrics the band built their name on.

3. Aphex Twin – avril altdelay

With Avril 14th being one of British electronic musician Richard D James’ most famous tracks, it was only a matter of time until he revamped his iconic song which has only made it even more pleasant. It won’t be long until Kanye begs for the chance to sample this again.

4. Chance The Rapper – Angels

Since the release of his second mixtape Acid Rap, Chicago born rapper Chance The Rapper has collaborated with the likes of James Blake and Donald Glover. Now he’s got fans in a frenzy as he teases his third mixtape and Angels hasn’t dampened their spirits, full of references to Kanye West and gospel hooks, this track is not only a homage to Chicago but a testament to the potential Chance has.

5. Guy Garvey – Angela’s Eyes

Owning one of the finest voices music has ever witnessed, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey has released his first solo album to showcase his remarkable vocals and new found sound. While not unfamiliar, there’s enough changes to justify a release and Angela’s Eyes is an excellent example of this.

Album of the Month

Grimes – Art Angels

November is a huge month for female artists with the great return of pop powerhouse Adele returning with her third album 25 and the likes of Drake collaborator Tinashe and *shudder* Ellie Goulding, girl power is very much in the air. November is also huge in terms of the return of an electronic wizard: Grimes.

Her unusual yet pleasing style of vocals and synths are ones that just shouldn’t work yet every time they just seem to get better and better. Thankfully the same can be said about tracks off her upcoming follow up to 2012’s Visions as EDM influenced Realiti and the catchy Flesh without Blood are comforting proof that even with the lack of substance abuse on this release, the canadian artist can still deliver.

(P.S bonus points for that amazing japanese inspired artwork, which perfectly captures the atypical nature of Grimes.)

Upcoming Gigs 

  • U2 @ Hydro – 6th & 7th November | Tickets
  • Bloc Party @ O2 ABC – 9th November | Sold Out
  • The Prodigy @ Hydro – 23rd November | Tickets
  • Slaves @ O2 ABC – Thursday 19th November | Sold Out
  • FIDLAR @ Garage – 12th November | Tickets
  • Bring Me The Horizon @ Edinburgh Corn Exchange – 25th November | Sold Out
  • Frank Turner @ Barrowlands – Friday 13th November | Sold Out

Kent punk duo Slaves visit Glasgow’s O2 ABC this month
 Upcoming Albums

  • Justin Bieber – Purpose (13th November)
  • Adele – 25 (20th November)
  • Rustie – EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE (OUT NOW)
  • Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 (November 6th)
November marks Adele’s triumphant return with new album 25

Film + TV

Film of the Month

The Good Dinosaur
Released: 27th November

Yes, I’ll look like a big waine for choosing this over Spectre but bare with me. Since Spectre was released last month and has been praised to no end (which it totally deserves) , I thought I’d go for a film that’s actually released this month and what better than Pixar’s next film. The Good Dinosaur is about an alternate timeline where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs narrowly missed, meaning that the giant creatures still exist. What follows is the tale of Arlo as he suffers a major loss (not hard to guess what happens, it’s Pixar after all) and tries to find his way back home.

This film has a chance to fail as it seems like it’ll be cliched and it’s directed by someone who’s only ever been behind the camera one times: for a Pixar short. However, it also has the opportunity to surprise everyone and become what the incredibles was to superhero films. In addition to this, the film has already been praised for its photorealistic visuals, meaning regardless if the film’s a flop, it’ll be a beautiful one. Who knows what will happen but regardless if it’s bad or fantastic, I’ll be there to see it.

TV Show of The Month

Peep Show
Starts: 11th November

What else was it going to be? Ranking alongside The Inbetweeners for being one of the most quotable British comedies of all time, Peep Show has kept us waiting in anticipation for 3 years for what is now the show’s last season. To avoid giving anything away to those who have avoided all previews and interviews, the ninth season will consist of “Mark trying to sell a loan to a gullible idiot while Jeremy is living in a bath”. The premise alone sounds hilarious and it’ll be worth it alone to see Mark, Jeremy and Super Hans for the last time before they fade away into Channel 4 fame. With this and Catastrophe, Channel 4 can rightfully call itself the home of Comedy.

Will it be worth the wait? No idea. Will it be quoted relentlessly by hundreds of users on Twitter? You bet yer arse.

Gaming

Game of the Month

Fallout 4
Released: 10th November

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In a month full of blockbuster game releases, Bethesda have their work cut out for them. Not only are they up against two juggernaut FPS going by the names Star Wars Battlefront & Call of Duty but there’s also the return of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Are they worried? Of course not.

Regardless if this game flops like a fish out of water, millions of gamers will still pick up Fallout 4 because, well, it’s Fallout. It’s an immersive post apocalyptic wasteland, full of radiation inflicted monsters and other humans just as desperate as yourself for supplies, safety and, most importantly, power. Its predecessor, unsurprisingly called Fallout 3, is one of my favourite games of all time and the sound of returning to the franchise with better graphics, more customisation and even greater gameplay, is too good to pass up. If you pick up one game this month, make it this.

BLINKCLYRO

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Cheers for sticking all the way to the end and I hope you enjoyed what I hope to be a regular thing! Any feedback is more than welcome and if you have any suggestions, whether it be a new track you think deserves more attention or you’re part of an up and coming band who want an opportunity to get their name out there then email me @ liammenzies96@gmail.com.

Over the past two months BLINKCLYRO has accumulated over 2,000 views and I couldn’t be more thankful for that! Here’s hoping I can keep you lot entertained for the rest of 2015 and beyond, perhaps even venture into different outlets *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* . You can follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro and over on my facebook page here. What follows is a wee schedule of what you can expect from the site this month!

Schedule

  • Life Is Strange review – Sunday 8th November
  • Bloc Party gig review – Tuesday 10th November
  • Frank Turner – Saturday 14th November 
  • First week with Fallout 4 (sort of review) – Tuesday 17th November
  • Slaves gig review – Friday 20th November
  • Bring Me The Horizon gig review – Thursday 26th November
    + even more tbc!!!!

After releasing the best album of their career, Bring Me The Horizon come to Edinburgh with their fresh new sound.
After releasing the best album of their career, Bring Me The Horizon come to Edinburgh with their fresh new sound.
Big Love, Liam x