PP22: Royal Blood riffs from the midriff to the hips

There they are. From the first song, the muscle riffs of Royal Blood from the Parkstad Stage thunder like a raging strength training session on steroids. With their riff rock the British Royal Blood has proven themselves in recent years as an extremely solid festival band, one that you can easily confide in a subheadline slot. At Pinkpop they lift the entire field with four arms. Four yes, because it is of course a duo that produces this gigantic sound from a platform on the stage. Behind the drums are Ben Thatcher, a burly dude who rages extremely destructively over his cymbals, and guitarist Mike Kerr, who occasionally growls and spits into his microphone, but mainly determines the sound of Royal Blood with his straightforward guitar playing.

Or no, look there, in the niche on the left. There’s a keyboardist tucked away, far out of sight. He trots up and down, pokes through the riffs with his synth on ‘Trouble’s Coming’. That is a welcome addition, because the two-man rock of Royal Blood sometimes tends to become a bit uniform. At the same time, there is definitely dynamics in it, by raising and lowering the tempo, for example. Just listen to ‘Boilermaker’, the brooding, slower single from the latest album. They continue that sound on the recent single ‘Honeybrains’. It’s a viscous track, and that angular riff sinks down from the diaphragm so you can curl your pelvis on it lasciviously. More hip than fist, so to speak.

Royal Blood does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Like their music, the show is no frills. Not much happens on stage either. But then! At the end of ‘Little Monster’, Ben Thatcher rages through a drum solo, ready to finish Pinkpop with a final blow. Then suddenly Thomas Raggi, the thin guitarist of Måneskin, beckons at the edge of the stage. To a loud cheer, he trips in his patent leather boots to Thatcher, has a gigantic baton pressed into his thin arms, and then says – ‘KLANNGGGG!’ – the gong. To trip off the stage again. Kerr throws in another monster riff, and Royal Blood rages on again.

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