WORDS & PHOTOS BY: BRITTANY RIZZO
A sea of black t-shirts, worn jeans, and eager grins lined up outside of The Union Transfer and trailed up and around Spring Garden Street last night awaiting the start of UK’s Royal Blood’s concert. The band sold out the Philly venue, and the massive line was there to prove it.
Anticipation lingered in the air, as fans anxiously fumbled with their tickets and spoke of their excitement for the gig. Others spent their time in line peeking at the tour buses parked in the garage, holding onto a sliver of hope that Royal Blood might come out and greet them. Each spot held a different timeline of pre-show jitters.
Admittedly, I spent my time marveling at my two block walk to the back of the line. I wasn’t expecting the overwhelming size of the crowd, but over the course of the night I learned that when in attendance at a Royal Blood show, it’s best to expect the unexpected.
Piling into the Union Transfer, fans were greeted with the soulful shreds, and the southern rock charm of The Shelters. The quartet captured the crowd with its funky bass-lines, intricate guitars and blistering drums. Perfecting the modernization of classic rock with the fusion of contemporary blues rock, The Shelters made my two block walk well worth it. By the third song, fans of Royal Blood became fans of The Shelters. The opening set was the ultimate calm before the storm and after a five minute jam-band-esque session, it ended — luckily, the impression of The Shelters’ talent is sure to live on.
The crowd was reeling after The Shelters, so much so, that even the sound check team received claps and cheers from their audio tests. With each passing moment, the crowd grew in energy and eagerness. When the lights in the Union Transfer went dead, the crowd came alive. This signaled the start of the Royal Blood show, a nearly two hour set of seductive guitar, and complimentary drums.
The duo took the stage and mayhem was instantaneous. The pounding drums were met with pumping fists and jumps that were in rhythm with the beats. Fans rushed to the stage to get closer to UK’s best. Crowd surfers took their chances at gaining closeness to the band and one lucky surfer was successful, catching a drum stick in mid-air, followed by cheers from the amazed crowd. Fans moshed in accordance to the speed of the guitar licks, while the band fed off of the energy. Breaks in between songs were short and sweet. The brevity helped maintain the momentum that was built since the fateful wait in line.
The night concluded the same was it started. Not a second was taken to slow down and all too quickly it came to an end. Royal Blood murdered the Union Transfer, and we loved every second of it.
The band is releasing its second album, “How Did We Get So Dark?” on 6/16. Be sure to check it out.