royal blood

How Royal Blood threw the least rock n’ roll temper tantrum

Rock duo Royal Blood threw a tantrum at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, admonishing the crowd for not being passionate enough. We advise against such behaviour.

Perhaps the only thing more unattractive than entitlement is vocalising your entitlement while insulting the people you claim should love you. 

This rather unique scenario unfolded in Dundee this past weekend, and, as luck should have it, it was filmed in high definition. 

The internet not only allows these transgressions to go viral, but petrifies them, making permanent moments that would, in yesteryear, have never escaped the small circles unfortunate enough to witness them in person. Occasionally, I feel for the perpetrators, having to relive the embarrassment of teenage tweets or never being able to escape that drunken video from that night they can’t remember. 

In the case of Royal Blood, I don’t have much sympathy. 

During their set, the duo’s lead singer Mike Kerr decided to try and get to know the thousands of paying customers in front of them – and, well, it went downhill from there.

“I guess I should introduce ourselves seeing as no one actually knows who we are,” he began. “We’re called Royal Blood and this is rock music. Who likes rock music? Nine people, brilliant.”

It was then the time to introduce the drummer, Ben Thatcher, who proceeded to perform a strange stunt of swigging tequila, and then blowing it up into the air, like some sort of patron-breathing dragon. It was as cool as it sounds. Rock n’ roll, baby.

royal blood

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for KROQ)

Sadly, it would soon descend further; the passive aggression of Kerr’s first message making way for unbridled aggression in his next.

“We’re having to clap ourselves because that was so pathetic,” he barked. “Even [the cameraman’s] clapping. What does that say about you?” Kerr asked of the audience.

Well, Mike, since you inquired so politely: probably that they didn’t have a clue who you were, didn’t like the way you were speaking to them and maybe – just maybe – weren’t awfully enjoying your music. He also failed to point out that he’d asked the cameraman to applaud, so he doesn’t really count. 

Were all that not enough, come the end of the set, Kerr flipped-off the audience and stormed off-stage. Adieu.

Royal Blood

The meltdown indicates a degree of amnesia. Did Royal Blood simply forget that Radio 1’s Big Weekend is a pretty, family-oriented festival, that they were on stage before Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi, and that they were only announced on the lineup 11 days before the festival began?

This was not one of their gigs. It was never going to be filled with passionate Royal Blood fans – of whom there are surely less than there were before this weekend – and if they were against playing a pop festival, why did they take the booking? 

The duo’s inability to recognise the environment is staggering. Instead of seeing an opportunity to win over new fans, they berated them, behaviour indicative of trumped-up musicians with an acute disconnect between the success of their music and their actual importance to wider society.

No statement has been released by the band since the incident. You imagine, now, none ever will – it would be very un-rock-n-roll to apologise. So who knows, with this pair and the ever-so-contrarian Matty Healy in the headlines, maybe this week will mark the return of the bad boy rockstar… or a particular version of it.

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