A situational deja vú hit me this evening as I went to the Garage for the second time in a couple of weeks to see a band that I had only discovered a couple of weeks prior. My last trip was to see Ice Nine Kills, while tonight’s headliners were pretty much as different as you can get – Sweden’s Royal Republic.
Support was from Blackout Problems who hail from Germany. They bill themselves as “alternative rock” and such they were, playing some fairly middle-of-the-road music. They started well enough, with a few cheers from a half-full hall and then… We weren’t even into the second song before the singer/guitarist was in the middle of the crowd, replete with guitar and microphone stand. When the song finished, he handed his guitar to a member of the audience and walked back to the stage with the mic. Talk about trusting your punters!
With some great patter, Blackout Problems proved to be hugely charismatic and absolutely adamant that the audience would join in and enjoy their show. Suffice to say that from the handful of people who stepped a bit closer to the stage when asked to at the start of the show, their new fan-base grew to a near-full venue applauding them offstage when they finished. I did think that they deserved better songs to go with this incredible stage presence, though. I found most of the tracks they played a little bland other than finisher which was an absolute belter and completely out of step with the rest of their set. More like this, please, guys!
Royal Republic unveiled their stage set a little before eight thirty and they’d brought a light show snazzy enough to rival any I’ve seen at larger venues. Sometimes a simple bit of glitz makes all the difference to a show, and in Royal Republic’s case shiny is party of the act. Bedecked in blue sequin-encrusted suits and bow ties, they launched into two songs from new release Club Majesty (Fireman & Dancer” and “Can’t Fight The Disco”) and then jumped back to 2012 for “Make Love Not War”.
At this point, most bands would stop to say “hello”… but not Royal Republic. By the time we got more than a brief greeting from frontman Adam Grahn, we’d had probably eight songs and a 2-man drum solo. Which means it wasn’t a solo. Duo. There. One of them. We’d also had a bellyful of laughs, a dance, some jumping and a shitload of hand-clapping. Royal Republic are fun.
They also give their fans value for money. I was only saying to Ross before they came on that many bands these days see sixty minutes as a headline slot while most of the old guard won’t give you less than ninety. Thank you Royal Republic for playing right up to the curfew, especially when the set includes crackers like “Baby”, “Walk!” and “Tommy-Gun”. The latter was definitely a crowd favourite, the reaction from the audience being so wild (not so much a moshpit as a dance-pit) that it earned a huge thumbs up from the band at the end.
With choreographed dance moves, superb lighting, great songs, genuine laughs, the best porn ‘tache since Tom Selleck and a surprise (and very good) Metallica cover, Royal Republic more than deserved the milking of the end of the set. They took their time leaving the stage and the audience would likely have applauded for another five minutes if they’d not had a curfew. Outstanding entertainment from an absolutely brilliant live act. I would love to see this lot on a larger stage. They bloody deserve the chance.
Photos (c) Moshville Times