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Gallery: Royal Blood at Newport Music Hall

 Matt Ellis Gallery: Royal Blood at Newport Music HallAll photos by Matt Ellis.
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British power-rock band Royal Blood returned to Columbus’ Newport Music Hall on Saturday night with an electrifying dose of loud guitars and heart-pounding drums as the duo of bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher prepare to continue their meteoric rise up the rock and roll ladder with the launch of their sophomore album, How Did We Get So Dark?

Opening the show were another relatively new band, The Shelters, an L.A.-based rock band that’s picked up a bit of buzz recently and is currently receiving some local radio love with their catchy lead single, “Rebel Heart.”

The alt-rock four piece lived up to the praise with a highly enjoyable 40-minute set of up tempo guitar-fronted good old rock music that worked as the perfect appetizer for what was to come.

It’s hard to believe Royal Blood have only been around for four years as they walk on to the stage looking like seasoned pros. Mike Kerr looking every bit the rock star with orange-tinted shades and Ben Thatcher donning his almost trademarked baseball cap and stone-faced-in-black look. The pair don’t talk much, but they don’t need to — this is all about cranking the triple-stack of amps and battering the life out of the drums to create an all consuming wall of blues-dripped noise.

The blessing and curse of having a limited back catalog meant that the band played the vast majority of their released songs, which isn’t a bad thing when the songs are so good. Openers ‘Where Are You Now?’ and current single ‘Lights Out’ set the bar early with chugging bass lines and Thatcher’s punishing beats while old favorites like ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure It Out’ added fuel to an already fired up Newport crowd.

New songs ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ and ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’ were performed before the band ended with a rousing version of ‘Out of the Black,’ that finished up with Kerr riffing on his guitar while simultaneously smacking Thatcher’s drum set.

A brilliant end to a brilliant evening and an exciting reminder that stripped down hard rock is far from dead.

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