Last week was a busy week for us as we hit the road to catch a few shows overseas in Germany of bands that aren’t touring in the USA yet, but really need to be. One such band is Sweden’s Royal Republic. I have talked to you guys about this band before and why you should to be listening to them. You can check out my music review here. So when I had the chance to catch this tour I grabbed the opportunity to give them some more exposure here in the USA because I truly believe this band needs to be on tour here in the USA. They have something for most everyone in their sound. Rockers, you will love their fun rock sound. Hipsters, you will love them too! These guys are the perfect musical chameleons to cross over the genre lines and entertain fans in the masses.
Thursday night arrived and whilst most Americans were either in food comas after a day of Thanksgiving eating or revving up for a night of manic Black Friday shopping I was in Dresden, Germany at Alter Schlachthof chatting with the band and suiting up in my camera gear to shoot their live show. I’ve never skipped our traditional holiday before, but this reason was well worth it! I think by far this was the best Thanksgiving celebration ever and no family drama or fighting shoppers, just lots of great music and happy fans all around.
Royal Republic has been out on tour supporting their March 2016 release Weekend Man. On this leg of the European tour they have the British alternative rock band Dinosaur Pile Up and an acoustic folk singer from the Netherlands, Tim Vantol, as opening support. It was a very interesting mix of opening support but it really worked well for the show.
First up for the evening was Dinosaur Pile Up. I missed DPU when Houston Open Air had issues arise during their festival so I was very pleased to see them on this line up and be able to finally catch them live. I have to mention right away that I had to do a double take at the stage when vocalist, Matt Bigland, took the stage. His current look was almost an exact match as a Kurt Cobain doppelganger. Just check out the photos below and tell me you do not see the resemblance! The guys played a great set. Their live sound and stage presence were very entertaining. The fans appeared to enjoy their performance. This band was a great choice to start the night off.
Next up for the night was Tim Vantol, a one man acoustic performance. I had not heard of him before this show so the evening was set for something interesting to happen. With Royal Republic, you can never be sure who will be on tour with them or what genre of music they will fall into. This was an interesting departure from the opening rock performance from DPU. Vantol’s performance of acoustic folk music had more than one fan looking around and asking what was going on. Even Vantol himself jokingly mentioned he was an odd pairing for the other two bands on the bill, but that didn’t stop him from putting on a great performance. If you already know who Royal Republic are and know their last album, Royal Republic & the Nosebreakers, where they did a departure into some hipster folk music, then you wouldn’t be too surprised at this show pairing. Folk music or not, Tim Vantol has a great sound and is a solid performer. He’d do well in many markets as a performer and I would suggest for people to go see him.
Now to the main reason for the night, Royal Republic. These guys are so much fun! They make great music, put on a great performance and even tend to make fun of themselves quite often. With that kind of mix you can expect just about anything to happen at one of their shows. The first time I saw them perform they were all leather jackets and had a little more of a punk rock look to them, this time around they had a sleek hipster look going. Does that really matter? To me, not so much because it really is all about the music for me, but looking the part just adds to the total effect of their performance. The guys kicked of the show with lot of fog and intense lighting. The fans immediately went totally crazy to their sound, cheering and singing along. I was down in the pit and let me tell you, the feeling in that room went from a calm and ready audience to an intensely energetic audience, you could just feel the excitement all around you.
The band played many of my favorite songs, well just about their entire catalog could be considered my favorite anyway lol. The set was a mix from all their works, even a little folk performance version of their song Addictive (from the Save the Nation album). You could tell the fans also had their favorite songs by the cheering as each song started. There were a few moments in between songs when the band shared stories and interacted with the fans too. One couple came up from Tasmania to see them as well. They had just gotten engaged and vocalist, Adam Grahn, took a moment to single them out during the beginning of the evening. Then mid way through the show he pulled a female audience member up on stage and put his guitar on her and quickly showed her which chords to play in the current song, then surprised her with a quick kiss before letting her back into the crowd. I learned during this show that Grahn also used to be a music teacher, though self professing he was not very good working with the children with a quite comical story. The evening wrapped up with what was clearly the audiences favorite song, Full Steam Spacemachine (on the We Are the Royal album), which is the very song that hooked me when I first saw them perform at Sweden Rock Festival in 2014. The fans went totally crazy crowd surfing, non stop jumping and a moment of everyone squatting down then in unison jumping in the air. What a infectious performance and amazing crowd. I tell you, when you get the chance, you must go see Royal Republic perform live. You will have one of the best times of your life!
Just so you know, Royal Republic does have an official tour date on the books in the USA next May (2017) at Rock on the Range in Ohio (May 19-21, date they are slotted to perform the festival has not been released yet, but get a ticket asap! You do not want to miss them! ROTR is put on by Danny Wimmer Presents). The guys mentioned to me before the show that there will be a few other USA shows, mainly east coast, so keep your eyes on their social media for tour dates to be announced. I know I will be and I will be making a point to go support them on tour here!
Seriously, I can’t tell you enough that you need to listen to this band and to see them live, they are really that good. There are very few bands I feel this passionate about today, but these guys have something very special and unique in their sound and one of the other bands I feel this same way about is no surprise, Swedish as well; Eclipse.
Enjoy the show photos. The full Royal Republic gallery is here.