Royal Blood Throw Up Middle Fingers To Lackluster Crowd At BBC Radio One's Big Weekend

30 May 2023 | 9:15 am | Mary Varvaris

“We’re having to clap ourselves because that was so pathetic.”

Photo of Royal Blood

Photo of Royal Blood (Credit: Tom Beard)

More Royal Blood More Royal Blood

On Sunday (28 May), UK rockers Royal Blood performed at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend in Dundee, Scotland, and things didn’t go down too well.

Royal Blood is a duo – Mike Kerr (vocals, bass) and Ben Thatcher (drums) – known for their brand of rock music that makes Kerr’s bass guitar sound like an electric guitar. Despite only having two band members on stage, they manage to concoct a far-reaching wall of sound that resembles a full-scale rock and roll outfit.

What happened on Sunday was, someone booked Royal Blood at the wrong time and maybe at the wrong festival. Wedged between pop acts Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi, the duo were performing to an audience ready for heart-on-your-sleeve pop ballads and easy singalongs, and they weren't a massive rock band everyone knows like Foo Fighters. But, could they have won the crowd over if Kerr wasn’t in a bad mood?

After introducing themselves to the crowd (“seeing as nobody knows who we actually are”) and receiving a less than enthusiastic response, Kerr asked, “Who likes rock music?” He received some applause and cheers before replying, “Nine people. Brilliant.”

In the clip below which features footage from different points during the gig, Kerr continued, “We’re having to clap ourselves because that was so pathetic.” He turned to the camera, looked at the crowd, and began mocking: “Will you clap for us? Will you clap? You’re busy. Can you clap? Yes, even he’s clapping. What does that say about you?”

At the end of their performance, Kerr threw up his middle fingers, flipping off the crowd the whole time as he walked off the stage.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

As Consequence Of Sound reports, Royal Blood weren’t the only rock act playing that day – buzzy post-punks Wet Leg (who had a surprise appearance from Dave Grohl during their set at Coachella), commanding rock act turned disco outfit Nothing But Thieves, and Irish rockers Inhaler (starring Bono’s son Elijah Hewson on vocals) were also playing on Sunday.

Perhaps Kerr’s reaction on the weekend should spark a wider conversation about scheduling festivals that showcase a wide range of artists, or even holding a “Rock” and “Pop” main stage.

Last week, Royal Blood announced their fourth album, Back To The Water Below, due for release on Friday, 8 September. Back To The Water Below is the duo’s first self-produced album and contains the menacing first single, Mountains At Midnight, which you can check out below.

“No-one saw the years of us playing in loads of bands to no-one, that all gets swept under the carpet because the other story is magical and much more wondrous,” Kerr said in a statement, reflecting on the band’s journey so far. “Luck is where passion meets opportunity. We got our golden ticket and walked out as tiny ninjas.

“We were in the right place at the right time, and we have to remember to give ourselves the credit that we didn’t get into this position by winning a quiz show, we put in a serious amount of work. It’s taken us four albums to realise this isn’t luck, we’re good and we’re committed to this.”

You can pre-order/pre-save Back To The Water Below here.