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Blood Brothers: A sound tidal wave led to Royal Blood’s “Typhoons” | Music function

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Photo by Dean Martindale

Royal Blood vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr, left, and drummer Ben Thatcher are on a world tour in support of their latest album, ‘Typhoons’.



There is nothing easy on the English duo of vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, who create a whirlwind of sound under the name Royal Blood.

But Kerr shared the basics of the Royal Blood show which arrives at the Rialto Theater on Monday, May 9.

“If you’ve been to a rock ‘n’ roll show, you know half of it,” Kerr said with a laugh. “Seriously, our new record, ‘Typhoons’, is almost a year old but we haven’t really toured it. It’s been a long time since we played in the States. There’s a lot of new music and that is an exciting setlist. There is no time to go to the bathroom during our shows.

The shows are as impressive as the record. The 38-minute “Typhoons” kicks off with the synthetic fuzz tone wave in “Trouble’s Coming.”

“I think that track was the first song we wrote that had that sound,” Kerr said. “It was a good transition because it’s also daring. We don’t do things by halves. We are fully attached to the sound of the disc.

That said, “Typhoons” fits perfectly into the Royal Blood catalog, according to Kerr. He maintains that fans and musicians are sometimes concerned about how old and new material will fit together.

“I think those concerns might have some validity,” he added. “But once we started playing, we realized these songs were really heavy and had a raw energy that we brought to them when we played them live. Everything works together. In fact, it also gives our set some real variety, which maybe was missing before.

“When we started putting the set back together, having the luxury of three albums, you get a stronger setlist by default. You end up playing the best songs.

Thatcher and Kerr formed Royal Blood in Brighton, England, and released their self-titled debut album in 2014. Playing bass like a lead guitar, Kerr pairs his visceral sound with Thatcher’s thundering drums.

Success followed with “How Did We Get So Dark?” from 2017.

Each of Royal Blood’s three studio albums topped the UK charts, selling over 3 million copies worldwide. Their accolades include a BRIT Award for Best British Group, awards from NME and Kerrang and a Mercury Prize nomination.

Sharing stages with the Foo Fighters and Stone Age queens, Royal Blood performed “Trouble’s Coming” on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

“Typhoons” was created primarily during the pandemic lockdown in the UK, which proved creative for Kerr and Thatcher.

“It was a process to get to this sound,” Kerr said. “I think we were always very clear that we wanted to evolve and do something that felt like a progression and try something new. It took many tries to get there.

“By the time we went to ‘Trouble’s Coming’, it felt like we had something that we knew came out that we were really excited about. Anything that annoys us while we’re playing it is an indication that we shouldn’t pursue it.

With “Typhoons”, Royal Blood stretched their sound because it was a way forward.

“Records are ultimately something to play live,” he said. “We used extra production and layers that people have never heard us use before. At its core, it is live energy.