Royal Blood + Bad Nerves @ MTelus

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Tonight’s concert at MTelus, was an evening showcasing the exceptional talent coming out the UK. Duo Royal Blood and five-piece garage band Bad Nerves were here to rock our socks off. A show that was long sold out. So anyone getting in at the last minute was lucky; the resale prices were insane for a small venue.

Bad Nerves
I just so happen to have discovered tonight’s opening band Bad Nerves on Spotify. Coming a long way since their humble beginnings. They never had any real expectations of the music industry, jokingly setting a general goal to press a record and sell out a small venue of a hundred people. They have since pressed one and have a new album out in November. There was already no empty space to move; the room was beyond packed for them, so I’d say mission accomplished.

Sick of the formulaic cookie-cutter punk they were hearing, they decided to fix things. With a revival in garage punk rock and roll. Singer Bobby Nerves brought a type of confidence and swagger like they had been doing this for decades. You could also see and hear the obvious influences such as Ramones or Buzzcocks. Bobby also definitely had the mannerisms and aesthetic of Julian Casablancas from the Strokes.

It wasn’t the first visit for these five lads either. Making comments on how they prefer the weather now compared to the Quebec winter they experienced last time. While playing a new song called USA, the singer proceeded to change some lyrics to Canada to butter us up. The crowd was eating it up already, as the venue was heating up. They had some extra industrial fans set up to cool us down. Ten songs down, and the crowd was officially warmed up for the main event.

Royal Blood
The cascading lights blanketed the audience as the duo came out onstage to the song War from Edwin Star. Kicking it off with a new song, Mountains at Midnight, off their new record. Followed by a more fun heavy rock song, Boilermaker.

I have always enjoyed musical duos. With these guys and their indie rock and pop sensibilities, the lyrics appeal to everyone. Which is why I think they are so successful. Together, singer Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have found the magic formula. Exhibiting a barrage of effects for just two people, with a bit of help from a third person on keyboards. They churned out hit after hit. Some I had almost forgotten about, so it was nice to hear them in a live setting.

I’m sure, at this point, some musician royalty runs in their blood. These guys are the real deal. The three T’s were next: Trouble Coming, Typhoons, Triggers, the more bass-heavy songs that make you want to dance. A gathering of older woman in the front of the balcony were losing their minds, dancing like there was no tomorrow.

The energy in the room was infectious. With the sound turned up to eleven with extreme distortion, you could feel the beats vibrating your core. Musical vibrations have the absolute power to heal, and I believe that they were the cure to any kind of seasonal blues people could be experiencing.

The fans got to hear a lot of songs from their fourth album, Back to the Water Below. Released this month, it was another self-produced endeavour. They believe strongly in the DIY ethic and it works for them. The sound is truly theirs; no one trying to interpret what’s in their mind’s eye when it comes to being in studio.

I swear the people on the floor were jumping the entire set. There were several types of mosh dance pits happening. Someone threw a Burger King crown onstage and encouraged them to put it on. At some point Kerr was taunting the crowd to jump into the pit with them. With extra pressure, they both caved eventually. Parting the sea of people they jumped into the madness and it swallowed them up.

For the encore, they brought out bassist Will Power from Bad Nerves to join them for a more subdued song, Waves. Playing Ten Tonne Skeleton and Figure It Out, their biggest hit, to finish this epic loud night off.

As I left the venue, I heard people exclaiming that it was the loudest show they had seen. Yelling it, actually, because anyone on the floor was partially deaf after. I’m glad I decided to go and finally experience the power of them live. I’m sure they’ll be back soon with another sold-out show, hopefully at the same time keeping it in a small venue.

Review – Sam Morris
Photos – Eric Brisson

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