The train ride down to Plymouth from Exeter was beautiful - a scenic, peaceful, tranquil journey on a Friday evening. In fact, I think I even had a little snooze. But getting to the station and feeling the buzz from obvious gig-goers was electric, and the anticipation was building. Taxi, go. Get me there now. Stand in the queue, and we’re in.
So, what am I talking about exactly? Royal Blood, the acclaimed rock-blues duo, have shot to success over the last few years, and now they were hitting the Plymouth Pavilions down South - and it was awesome. Standing outside for the doors to open, I noticed that a variety of people had come together to celebrate this band’s sound – teenagers, couples, males, females, the young, and the not so young; it really was a beautiful sight. As with all waiting, it was cold and not particularly enjoyable, but this made up for it, and my excitement was mounting.
Walking in. Lights, merch, and most importantly – the bar. Although I ended up paying £14.70 for two double vodka and lemonades as a result of a crude trick from my friend, it really didn’t matter as I was so hyped. I think people thought I was a bit weird, but this is coming from the stare of some guy in his 40s with blue hair. No judgement, please.
But when were Royal Blood coming on stage? The only issue here was that I had no idea that Mini Mansions had even started. The layout of the Pavillions meant that the main stage was quite far away from the lovely things in the middle – the cloakroom, toilets, bar, merch stands – and so there was no obvious “Oh, we’re going in!” feeling that you get at most gigs, which was a shame. That giddiness you felt when you went in and tried your hardest to get to the front? Didn’t happen. But I felt a low rumble under my feet, and after some serious investigation, saw the extremely well-tailored Mini Mansions jamming away. Not being awfully familiar with the band, I had an open mind to their sound and what my ears would digest. I mean, touring with Royal Blood, in my opinion, gives them some credibility. And they definitely proved themselves. Somewhat Artic Monkeys-ish with a sultry blues vibe, they really put on a good show. Additionally, their set was b-e-autiful. The lights, suits, guitars and, most importantly when in a band, their hair, were phenomenal. You can quote me on this: keep an eye out for these guys – if they follow in the footsteps of their bassist’s other band (Queens Of The Stone Age), then they’re going to be huge. I was honoured to witness it.
But hold on. Royal Blood. Having seen them live before, but at the more rowdy and violent environment that is Reading Festival, I was a little scared about potentially getting a black eye. Yet, phew, no bruises later, dancing to their tunes of Little Monster, Come On Over, and Out Of The Black, the lads did a fantastic job. The vocals were on point, maybe even better than recorded, with the riffs and the tone really shining through, despite playing rocked-out drums and guitar riffs. The crowd, by this point, were fully engaged, and the standing area was filled to the brim. I was basically dancing with someone my Dad’s age, but he probably had much better hip action. It was that type of gig where appreciation of all the show’s components were felt; the lights were hypnotic, the performance from the band was captivating, and the quality of the music was impressive. And I’m happy to say that this wasn’t the vodka talking, as I danced so much I was stone cold sober and content by the end.
The only thing that I was upset about was the lack of encore and the abrupt end. There seemed to be no climatic point that signified the finish of the gig; the lights were turned on and everyone just left. Being a typical die-hard gigging gal, I stayed around waiting for the usual extra song and the throw of a drumstick (which I did see but missed, gutted), but nope. I guess due to there being an older crowd, this wasn’t the done thing. But you know, a little something would have been nice.
I can live though, and I’ll dry my tears knowing that I got the opportunity to see a bloody awesome band in such a cool, chilled environment. Getting the taxi to the station and going back to Exeter, I was just so so happy, and had post-gig blues the next day. But bravo to Royal Blood, you’ve pleased me yet again. And Mini Mansions, I wish you all the best – literally listening to you right now, and it’s a treat.