Royal Blood – Logan Campbell Centre May 1, 2018


It was a night of raging riffs and pummeling percussion as English rock duo Royal Blood took charge of Auckland’s Logan Campbell Centre.

With two studio albums under their belts, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher have done pretty well for themselves since the appearance of their first 7” at the end of 2013. They’ve won or been nominated for a hatful of British music awards since then, including the Mercury Prize and a Brit Award for Best British Group.

But are they a group, or a duo? And does Mike Kerr play bass or some sort of mutant guitar?

These questions seemed completely irrelevant to the crowd on hand to see them on a fine Tuesday evening in Auckland.

One thing is certain, Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher make a big noise for two guys. Of course modern technology helps Kerr make the most of his rig and two female vocalists made sporadic contributions but you could say that their input had more to do with what they offered visually rather than musically.

After a feisty opening set from local heroes Dead Favours, Royal Blood took the stage to the strains of KC & The Sunshine Band’s Get Down Tonight. However the 70s disco hit was quickly overwhelmed by Kerr and Thatcher’s own bone-crunching music, beginning with two tasty selections from their second album, How Did We Get So Dark?

“We’re gonna get drunk and have a good fuckin’ time together”, Kerr informed the crowd. And while he may not have been promoting good behaviour, he did get the crowd rocking, particular the fans on the floor in front of the stage.

After You Can Be So Cruel, the two female vocalists appeared on the riser behind the band, both women striking poses much to the delight of the male members of the audience seated around me.

They didn’t make much of an impression during the two numbers they sang on…they could barely be heard over Kerr and Thatcher’s blues-based rumble…but, as I said, that didn’t really seem to matter. They would return for a couple more tunes later in the set, with the same result.

Meanwhile the boys in Royal Blood ploughed through a dozen-plus songs from both albums. After the primal stomp of Loose Change, Mike invited Ben to emerge from his drum kit and address the crowd, introducing his musical partner as, “the greatest man on Earth, better than Jesus”.

That kind of talk didn’t bode well for John Lennon, but these are different times, and besides, Thatcher only really wanted to express his need to party with his fans.

Mission accomplished as they wrapped up with Figure It Out, then returned for two more from the first album, closing the proceedings with their first single, Out Of The Black, while leading the crowd through a bit of good-natured cheering along the way.

A couple of comments about the venue. There is clearly a different vibe between being on the floor and sitting up in the seated area. The folks who were seated seemed to be observers while those standing below were participants…having a much more involved experience with the band.

And the parking situation at Logan Campbell was not good. Folks were handed a ticket as they drove in and parked, but were unable to leave until they paid at one of the few operating pay stations. Needless to say, long lines immediately formed after the show and most folks were charged around $9.00 for something that, in my opinion, should be free.

Please promoters, avoid Logan Campbell until the venue decided to treat its patrons fairly, rather than like cash cows.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Reuben Raj:

Royal Blood set list:

  1. Where Are You Now?
  2. Lights Out
  3. Come On Over
  4. You Can Be So Cruel
  5. I Only Lie When I Love You
  6. Look Like You Know
  7. Little Monster
  8. Hook, Line & Sinker
  9. Blood Hands
  10. Sleep
  11. Hole In Your Heart
  12. How Did We Get So Dark?
  13. Loose Change
  14. Figure It Out
  15. Ten Tonne Skeleton
  16. Out Of The Black