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Royal Blood slammed after rockers throw tantrum at Radio 1’s Big Weekend

'Who likes rock music? Nine people, brilliant'

By Joe Goggins

Royal Blood press shot, 2023
(Photo: Tom Beard)

Royal Blood have gone viral for the wrong reasons after footage of them having an on-stage tantrum at Radio 1’s Big Weekend spread on social media yesterday (May 29).

The Brighton duo were on the bill on the main stage in Dundee on Sunday (May 28), as part of a largely pop-oriented offering that was headed up by Lewis Capaldi and also included Niall Horan, Zara Larsson and Becky Hill. Clips from the broadcaster’s official festival footage showed singer Mike Kerr berating the Scottish crowd after he deemed their reaction to be insufficient. “We’re called Royal Blood and this is rock music – who likes rock music? Nine people, brilliant.”

“We’re having to clap ourselves because that was so pathetic,” he went on as he introduced drummer Ben Thatcher. He later left the stage showing the crowd the finger, whilst Thatcher admonished somebody in the audience. Reaction to the meltdown has been largely negative on social media, with many questioning what the pair were expecting when they signed up to a festival known for its mainstream remit.

“I’ve liked Royal Blood for a long time, but this was torturously embarrassing to watch. Toe-curling stuff,” said @blissfulfiction on Twitter. “It’s a festival crowd, not everyone’s there to see you. Especially a Radio 1 curated festival. They knew what they signed up for, & still acted like v entitled & childish.”

Others were less conciliatory. “I’d be so fucking pissed if a band called ***ROYAL BLOOD*** hopped up on stage to play rock and roll, patronised me in a Waitrose accent and then had a literal tantrum because I wasn’t making enough noise,” wrote Twitter user @vindictivevox. “I’d actually lose the plot.” 

“Huge fan of Royal Blood and their music,” said @stuarty_milne, “but throwing a tantrum like this at a crowd filled with teenagers isn’t as “rock n roll” as you think it is. You were on the lineup between Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi. Go have a lie down.”

Others accused the band of hypocrisy, given their own mainstream credentials.” It’s worth remembering that Royal Blood were booked because they’re a pop-adjacent, mainstream, commercial act,” reasoned @InkwellPaul. “They’re not on that stage by accident. They’re there because they’re pop enough to be there. You make your bed.”

“Also worth remembering that they are rubbish,” he concluded.

The on-stage histrionics come after the group shared their latest single ‘Mountains At Midnight’ and details of fourth album ‘Back To The Water Below’. 

“I think this record was about letting the ideas take us where they needed to go,” explained drummer Ben Thatcher. “If there was a song that was calling us to do something that wasn’t typically what we’re known for, that’s where we’re going to go. The songs are in charge, and if that means having a record that’s quite varied that’s what we’re going to go for, rather than trying to shoehorn everything into the same world. As a result, we’ve made a record that’s a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s everything we could do.”