Concert Review: Royal Blood and Kan Wakan @ Lee’s Palace – Toronto

Nothing wakes you up from turkey-itis quicker than loud music. Lucky for you Toronto, because British rock duo Royal Blood were in town a day past Thanksgiving to play some eardrum blastin rock ‘n roll.

Recent buzzband Kan Wakan had some of the early birds trying to categorize their genre of music. At times, the LA based collective leaned more towards electronic prog-rock. But then, would go heavy on the programmed orchestral sounds setting up a more cinematic vibe. Brittany ‘KP’ Mullen’s muffled vocals hidden behind the complex instrumentation was certainly a tad disengaging. The band, who recently gained notoriety for their song ‘Like I Need You’ used in HBO promos, mysteriously recruited Mullen as a replacement for Kristianne Bautista. The fairly inhibited Mullen, when heard, had startling resonance similar to Polica’s Channy Leaneagh. Live balancing issues plagued the band’s Canadian debut set, which had the potential to be a bit more memorable.

Coming out to Jay Z’s ’99 Problems’, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher swaggered right into ‘Hole’. The British duo, who have already racked up milestones such as #1 debut album and opening for Artic Monkeys, made it clear to the sold out audience: they play LOUD music. Thatcher’s stanky faced aggressive drumming made it seem as if he was seeking revenge on the percussion instrument. Kerr, who has vocal dopplegangers in Jack White and Josh Homme, ripped through songs from their Mercury Prize nominated Self Titled debut. The radio-friendly tunes had the bros near the front moshing it out, as the rest air-drummed and headbanged to deafening hits such as ‘Little Monster’ and. ‘Figure it Out’. As the pair were thrashing the final notes of the monstrous hit ‘Out of The Black’, you were transported back to the times when rock music was turned to 11, maybe even 12.

No fancy banners. No insane guitar solos. No larger than life personalities. Where are the shticks? Perhaps Royal Blood serves to be a reminder that the only gimmick required to sell music to the world is (actually) the music.


Follow updates from Royal Blood here.

Review by Nilabjo Banerjee ()

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