Royal Blood, 2017

Loud, raw and dirty, this gig was incredible. Stripped down, other than some fancy lighting, there were no gimmicks for the crowd – but they truly didn’t need them. The music did all of the speaking and it was screaming to be heard!

Making the transition from smaller venues to their first arena tour, it felt like I was seeing them at a true transition point, no longer just big, but on the cusp of becoming incredibly huge artists. Their sound was still raw enough to feel intimate, yet polished enough to be amazing all the way through the show. The crowd interaction was limited in the early part of the gig, but it truly felt like they were lost for words at the size of the crowd rather than any lack of showmanship. Their rawness shone through and it make me feel privileged to be seeing them at this point in their career.

Proclamations of how gobsmacked they were to see so many people turn out to the gig showed just how quickly they had gone from small venues to huge arenas. The drummer’s crowd- surfing helped to solidify the band’s appearance as down-to-earth, humble people.

All edges and angles, the music pushed a sense of dichotomy on the crowd, light and dark, loud and soft, fear and power. It felt amazing and was one of those gigs where every song gave you goosebumps. Using the lighting to create a cage-like effect added to the sense of power coming from the music, barely held in check and making you feel like the roof could cave in and we’d all still be stood there, rocking out and screaming the words. Three huge mosh pits formed and looking at it from above, it was almost beautiful to watch, people creating living whirlpools in the crowd.

From the low-slung guitar stance to the twirling of drumsticks, every inch of Royal Blood screamed ‘rock gods’ and I felt like I was getting to watch a snippet of their history as they fully step into the role.

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Queens of the Stone Age, 2017

When you spend most of the gig with a smile on your face, you know it must have been good!

The first sounds of the guitar echoing through the arena accompanying the band walking on stage had everyone up on their feet. Starting the gig by kicking over the free-standing lights (admittedly they were designed to do a weeble – wobble and not fall down!) QOTSA made it clear that they don’t mess around.

With clever vocal intros into each track and excruciatingly cool guitar and drum solos, I found myself closing my eyes at points just to ride the music.

Cigarette in mouth, Josh strutted around the stage like he owned the place, whipping the crowd to their feet. With their biggest hits placed throughout the set rather than located within a traditional encore, it felt like we were at a party that, for once, wasn’t waiting for the end to show us how to rock out.

The band walked the fine line between ‘rebels without a cause’ and the cool kids at school. Either way, they are absolutely at the top of their game. There was a sense of being on the edge of loosing control and as Josh screamed out “It’s not Sunday evening, it’s fucking Saturday night!” it felt like he was 100% right.

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