Monday 17th February 2014
Royal Blood supported by Tigercub at The Musician.
by Keith Jobey
If the BBC is to be believed, bands are not going to be in fashion this year. Their ‘Sound of 2014’ list includes only one band, a band that only has two members. A band that is headlining the gig tonight. A gig hosted by the Cookie that was deemed too big to fit in the Cookie Jar and in a show of solidarity, is taking place at the larger capacity Musician. A sold out Musician – so a wise move.
The first indicator that it is going to be busy is the lack of parking spaces in the vicinity of the venue. The second indicator is the queue at the door and the third indicator is that from the opening of the doors, fans are already claiming their places at the rarely seen barriers.
Tigercub is tour support and is a grunge trio from Brighton. All named James, they are Jamie Hall (guitars and vocals), Jimi Wheelwright (bass) and James Allix (drums). Their set begins with Centrefold and the first thing I note is it is loud. Too loud, to the extent that it unfairly initially dampens my enjoyment of them. It continues with a string of slow paced dirgeful songs that lack a little punch at times, but towards the end the pace quickens, but it’s all too brief. They have been compared to Nirvana and at times I hear harmonies which are reminiscent of the legendary band. They’re good, with some enthralling bass playing, but most are here tonight for just one reason and it shows. The crowd are appreciative but sadly are not too interested I would say. Ending with Little Rope they’ve earned some new fans but fell on the deaf ears of many others.
Between sets I forsake my place near the front to go and chat to people. Then as I look forward again prior to the main act it’s looking really full ahead of the sound desk, so rather than push through I opt to hang back.
Royal Blood consist of Mike Keer (bass and vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums) and like Tigercub, are also based in Brighton. The more observant of you will note that there is only a bass guitar mentioned. That’s how it is with Royal Blood. A bass is used through numerous amps with octave pedals and other secret ingredients to produce the sounds required that make it appear like there are others hiding behind the stacks. I’ve seen this done the in a simpler form using a rhythm guitar and shifting it down to get the bass sound but never this way. And Royal Blood do it to great effect which requires a degree of skill to get it to sound so full and good.
They play a garage blues rock that is easily likeable to most people, hence their popularity I guess. But there are also other influences in there, with many people picking out a nod to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Muse. They do the ‘two people make a lot of noise’ really well and powerfully. Not quite the Black Keys or the White Stripes yet but with a few more killer songs in their repertoire they will certainly have the potential to be a big success in 2014 and are definitely going to be popular at this summer’s festivals.
It’s a short set of 35 minutes, which includes nine songs, but that doesn’t seem to bother the mass of bodies between me and the stage that make the most of every minute. When set closer and debut single Out Of The Black is played the crowd are really rocking and the room is sweating.
I left wishing I’d caught them at the Cookie Jar last October, and that it was great to see a sold out gig on a Monday night in Leicester.