On a cold Monday evening, English duo Royal Blood brought their powerful rock and roll to The Sound San Diego, turning the new venue into a hotbed of excitement. With a packed, sold out venue, fans huddled inside the club for warmth, eagerly anticipating the explosive performance that awaited them. This was Royal Blood’s last stop of their 2023 North America Tour, with the band heading off to Australia to end their year down under.
Royal Blood is a true power-duo, consisting of bassist and vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher. The pair wasted no time in igniting the eager Del Mar crowd, kicking off with a powerful trio of “Mountains at Midnight,” “Come on Over,” and “Boilermaker.” Royal Blood set the tone for a night of relentless energy and tight musicianship; one of the standout moments of the evening was Ben Thatcher’s awe-inspiring drum solo. His precise and thunderous beats resonated throughout the venue, building up to a colossal gong hit that marked the climax of his performance. Thatcher’s front man stage presence was captivating as he stalked the stage, occasionally lunging towards the audience — the talented vocalist and bass player had the sold out crowd in the palm of his hand.
Royal Blood’s ability to create massive sound with just bass guitar and drums is truly impressive. Kerr’s bass (tuned and enhanced to emulate the power of a distorted guitar) and Thatcher’s massive drum kit filled the venue with a rich resonant power that sounded way bigger than a two piece band has any right to. Touring keyboardist Darren James also helps fill out the band’s more recent electronic sounds and experimentation.
As the night progressed, Royal Blood treated the audience to a packed set list featuring a mix of fan favorites and hits, including “Out of the Black,” “Waves,” “Ten Tonne Skeleton,” and the crowd-pleaser “Figure it Out,” which closed the show with a bang. The seamless transitions between songs, Kerr’s dynamic vocals, and Thatcher’s thunderous drumming showcased the duo’s musical prowess.
This wasn’t Royal Blood’s first time in San Diego, and their return was a triumphant one. Having previously graced North Park stages in 2017 and 2022, the band’s sonic growth and consistency were evident throughout the night. From their humble beginnings opening for The Pixies in 2014 to headlining sold-out shows, Royal Blood has solidified their status as a force to be reckoned with in the modern rock scene, especially here in San Diego.