Review of Royal Blood gig, by Keith Popper
Call me Archie. As Archie I have hirsute, dancing digits that tap on the steering wheel. They are dancing while I drive; and as Aberdonian evidence that women are taking over rock, Annie Lennox is singing her song about walking on broken glass.
Earlier, as Archie, I denigrated a song by Fishbone called Everyday Sunshine. ‘Stevie Wonder did this 20 years ago; better and less obnoxiously’ I sneered. Lennox. Proper music.
More than 20 years later, he is who I have become. Arms folded, up at the back and without an alcoholic drink – its Monday and I am therefore driving. I tick off who has done what before and better. I have ticked off: Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, Cinderella, Metallica, The White Stripes (obviously), Rage Against the Machine (exhilaratingly for thirty seconds of a segue-way between obvious runnels), Circus of Pain and Manic Street Preachers (more for the charisma-chasm, quacking vocals and slimming black shirt of the singer than the music though). As Archie, being as he is who I am, I disapprove. I am watching Royal Blood.
As Not-Archie, I should say that Royal Blood, all both of them, are extremely proficient on bass and on drums. And the novelty of the bass player’s effects pedals – they make the bass sound like he’s playing guitar at the same time, much to the incredulity of many of us Archies up the back – make the whole thing more of a diverting sideshow than the clapped out and derivative meta-tribute act that they surely are.
As Not-Archie I concede that Royal Blood is not meant for me. While I doubt they are the favourite band amongst the hormonal hordes at the gig (too thirsty for life to fold their arms), they are a version of a lot of other things which are more sexual or angry or despairing or nihilistic or debauched or interesting which might lead somewhere amazing. As a consequence I find myself ultimately giving my approval, and so I become a fully integrated amalgam of Not Archie and Archie. And Archie becomes ever so slightly less of a prick, but only so slightly that nobody can see.