Royal Blood sold out San Diego’s Observatory North Park on their North America Tour, with support from Cleopatrick on May 8th. Sometimes less is better and that was definitely the vibe of the night, for both bands were made up of two man bands.
The night kicked off with Cleopatrick, made up of childhood friends Ian Fraiser and Luke Grunzt. For being just two guys, they definitely bring the energy of a full band. They opened up their set with “Sanjake”. They’ve said before that some of their biggest music influences are Highly Suspect, Catfish and the Bottleman, and Royal Blood; I think it’s really cool that they get to be on tour with one of their influencers now! On their Spotify bio, they say that they are “the last rock band on planet earth”, further stating that rock has changed and evolved, so much so that it doesn’t have the same meaning as it used to have. Not wanting to fit in a “box”, Cleopatrick is changing the way you hear “rock”. They continued to play “GOOD GRIEF”, “hometown” and “FAMILY VAN”, before closing out with “youth”. Also, If you want to check out something really cool, go look at the band’s official website! I won’t spoil it for you, but you may get a virus if you click on the dark web.
This was the first time Royal Blood has come to San Diego since 2017!
Being from the UK, I was surprised at how big of a following they had in America! To sell out a venue as big as the Observatory is really impressive to me. As they were setting up the stage, the drum cover came off to reveal a giant Zildjian Gong! I’ve actually never seen a gong in person and out of all bands, I’m surprised they had one! The whole time they were setting up, I was trying to figure out what song or when drummer, Ben Thatcher, would hit it. They came out and played “Typhoons” off their latest album of the same name. Though they are a two man band, they had keyboardist and back vocalist, Darren Watts, come out for a couple of songs. “Lights Out” was my song of the summer in 2018, so it was amazing to finally hear that one live!
During the middle of their song “Little Monsters”, we got treated to a drum solo — honestly one of the most impressive solos I’ve heard in a while. Towards the end of the solo, Thatcher reached for a gong mallet and the whole crowd cheered and got so excited. We weren’t quite loud enough, so he teased us and put it away. A couple seconds later he brought it back out and the crowd was even louder than before. He got us all to count down and then hit it! It was one of the coolest sounds I’ve ever heard; you could actually feel the vibrations of it! That moment alone made the whole show in my opinion! I love when bands have something different about them that makes them and their shows stand out. What a cool and unique thing to add to a show! Following their hit “Figure It Out”, came a three-song encore that started with the piano ballad “All We Have is Now”, before closing out their set with an extended version of “Out Of The Black”.
There’s still a few more dates on their North American tour, so be sure to catch them before they’re back in the UK!
Photography by Kaiya Vandemark