The Swedish rock scene has given birth to many of our most beloved bands, and like THE HIVES before them the garage rock ‘n’ roll vitality of ROYAL REPUBLIC has captured the hearts of many recently. This Swedish invasion has come to conquer Manchester once again and tonight ROYAL REPUBLIC bring a few companions with them for the show, BLEEKER and DINOSAUR PILE UP.
The first of these, BLEEKER, play happy, joyful, and upbeat rock. This starts the night up putting people into good spirits, and despite the crowd not being entirely familiar with this opening band BLEEKER do not let that hamper their set. They spend lots of time socialising with the audience and telling bad jokes, but it gets the crowd laughing and in a positive mindset for their performances some of their better known tracks including a new one. They play one of their catcher jams Where’s Your Money which easily gets the crowd singing along with the chorus, and another new single Highway is equally as impactful suggesting good things for their future. Coming all the way from Canada these chaps are very happy to be here tonight supporting ROYAL REPUBLIC and despite it being a Tuesday night, the first act to be on has the venue at least half full which is really impressive and gives them the confidence boost they need to deliver an enjoyable set.
The second band to grace the stage tonight, namely Yorkshire’s DINOSAUR PILE UP, change the tone tonight from joy to something harder with a dash of grunge, but no one is complaining. Coming off the back of their Eleven Eleven album released last year, the band are aiming to make the most of this run and win over as many onlookers as they can which shows in their fiery performance. Simultaneously they manage to do this and prepare the crowd for tonight’s headliners, and the venue just keeps on filling up as their riff-heavy hard rock roars away in primal fashion. Their best known tracks like Peninsula and Grim Valentine get people moving but the high point comes as they finish off the set with a newer track in 11:11 which is a punchy, bruising slog of a track, with excellent riffs and pummelling beats. DINOSAUR PILE UP are definitely a contender in the modern rock world.
The party mood ROYAL REPUBLIC thrive on is already fully enveloping every corner of the room as they emerge and open with the catchy hell-raiser When I See You Dance With Another. The set tonight is full of fan favourites, Make Love Not War being especially fun as lead singer Adam Grahn manages to bring the crowd together as one. Almost as impressive is the efforts of the tech crew, who spend the night running round frantically reassembling equipment as the band batter and abuse their instruments and surroundings. ROYAL REPUBLIC undoubtedly play a lot off of their nationality for their between song banter, milking their nationality for all it is worth as they wheel out joke after joke about accents, Sweden and the like. For some bands this could get beyond grating and tedious, but somehow for ROYAL REPUBLIC it all just factors in as part of their undeniable charm. It also helps that they have the tunes to back it up. Along with the aforementioned monsters, Baby gets a circle pit going and Tommy Gun ends the main set with aplomb as the crowd chant for more. ROYAL REPUBLIC oblige, choosing to initially slow things down with Follow the Sun before capitalising on the change of pace with Full Steam Space Machine ending things on a jubilant and raucous note. It’s definitely been a night to remember, and as long as they continue to be this fun the rise of this band shows no sign of slowing down.
Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Christopher Ryan here: