Admittedly, in reading all the buzz surrounding English rockers Royal Blood – namely, how they’re able to produce such full-bodied music with only two members – I was skeptical. Surely, their live shows would at least need some assistance with a low-key bassist or additional guitarist in the shadows. But no, the buzz was on-point and well-deserved. Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr were literally the only ones on stage during their entire set, and filled up the spacious Saltair impressively.

And while it seemed most of the crowd was there for the legendary openers Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood’s fans were out in droves, singing along to every lyric off their still relatively hot-off-the-press album, How Did We Get So Dark? “Lights Out” was even more incendiary in person (namely, Kerr’s slick guitar solo). Another standout was the punkish/garage rock “I Only Lie When I Love You.” Their appearance certainly warrants a revisit to the album, which is deliciously laden with dark musings about tainted love and regret.

The headliners were loud (at the risk of sounding uncool, I’m not very well-versed in QOTSR’s oeuvre) and on a sidenote, the unbearably aggressive lighting effects were a sad reminder of my ageing, so I didn’t stay too long for their set. The highlight was getting hit in the head with some stranger’s cap while in the photo pit, then turning around to find that one of the security guards had launched himself over the barricade and into the crowd to break up a fight. Stone Age graciously stopped mid-song to remind everyone that “We’re all here to have fun, not fight!”

To view photos of both acts, go here.

Charissa Che
Charissa Che
Charissa Che was born and raised in NYC and has been a journalist for over 12 years in news and arts and entertainment. She is a music contributor for Salt Lake Magazine. Additionally, she holds a Ph.D. candidate in Writing & Rhetoric at the University of Utah. She prides herself on following the best cat accounts on Instagram. Calicos preferred.

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