Ilosaarirock Joensuu 3 days 14th-16th July 2017

Royal Blood: A small but great band

The two-man garage rock band Royal Blood made the Main Tent go crazy on Sunday evening.

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher playing. Photo: Markus Korpi-Hallila

When Royal Blood got on stage, it didn’t feel like there were only two people playing. Singer-bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher put up a wild show, and the audience loved it.

Kerr plays the bass with a unique guitar-like style and sound, while Thatcher is banging the drums like there’s no tomorrow. Most of their songs don’t need anything else: backing vocal tracks are used very moderately.

Kerr succeeds in balancing between being both the guitar and the bass player, and his melodic singing supplements the music perfectly well. Thatcher spices up his solid beats with some carefully rationed examples of his versatile talents.

Already the second song Lights Out, which was released as a single earlier this year, seems to hit the jackpot. There’s no doubt that many audience members already know what the band is all about. Numerous other catchy songs, such as Little Monster, make them go wild.

The two men not only play well together, but they’re also unquestionably brilliant performers. Improvisation is easier when there’s only two players. The drummer also makes the spotlight in a completely different way than in many other rock bands. Usually, it’s mostly guitar players and singers who strut around the front stage together but in this band, the singer-bassist joins the drummer on his platform to jam with him.

–Would you like to meet the rest of the band? Kerr jokes. Thatcher receives massive ovation, just like his drum solo.

Between the songs, Kerr tells he’s delighted by Finland and its people. Maybe their first visit to Finland was as unforgettable to them as it was to the audience.

Text: Ida Käkelä
Photo: Markus Korpi-Hallila

Ilosaarirock Festival