Band of Skulls are a supremely talented band. They are unique in so many ways and one of those is that they are hard to define or compare to other noted rock acts. Yes they are three-piece rock band, but they aren’t Nirvana, yes they are a ‘loud’ band but they aren’t Royal Blood – and that’s what makes them so great that they simply can’t be pigeon holed. Their live show is also hard to describe because quite simply it’s as pure a live rock experience as it gets. The review could end right there and you’d be able to have a firm imprint in your head of what the experience would have been like. However, for the sake of this article I’ll delve into the band and their live show a little bit further.
Being a Wednesday night crowd you didn’t expect there to be a heap of energy from the masses. And with ‘In Love By Default’ opening the set it was a restrained opener from the Southampton trio. As for the venue, the Roundhouse really fitted the band – both are expansive and huge. The church-like backdrop was also something really pretty (matching the band’s new album cover) and, again, the fit was just right. The lighting throughout their set, was also somewhat restrained but at the same time enhanced the show and experience.
For a three-piece band, Band of Skulls has an immensely huge sound. They really are no fuss rockers that let their music do the talking – and it does so very loudly
Early in the set the band ripped out ‘Himalayan’. The harmonies on the recorded track are great but live they were something to behold, it flowed perfectly into ‘Bodies’ – one of the highlights of their fantastic most recent album. Zoe’s live vocals were something special when hearing this live.
The band really didn’t have much interaction with the crowd at this early point of the show, no real .bants’ until after ‘Bodies’. You sensed the band were aiming to cram in a heap of songs and they certainly did so.
‘You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Going On’ was an early highlight, it was an absolute banger. The ending to the song’s performance had A great and rollicking finish that really signalled the tone for the night. For this gig you needed to ensure you packed an extra pair of earplugs.
‘Black Magic’ is an old school rocker, another highlight from the band’s most recent album. The chorus live was simply… magical.
The whole set was a great mix of old and new. With three albums in and no signs of slowing down the band have plenty of great material to choose from. The set was crafted well and all songs flowed seamlessly as well.
Throughout the night the band mixed some of their softer songs with harder, more bombastic tunes. One of their harder tracks, ‘Sweet Sour’, has to be one of their best sing along tracks. The chanting of Sweet! Sour! In the chorus was so damn catchy and it all built to a huge crescendo live.
The London crowd were lucky enough to hear a rare, unheard live performance of a new song from the band, and there were a lot of phones out recording it as you’d expect. As for the track itself, the vocals were female-led and there were some majorly sweet harmonies, which have become synonymous with them. As for the drummer, he switched his role to playing an acoustic guitar with some light kick drums. Those in attendance were lucky to be there for such a gorgeous track.
Band of Skulls are a seasoned live band. There’s a sense of genuineness from the band and the connection they have as a trio is something thousands of bands would strive for. The band, the venue, the lighting they all fit together and it just works I’m sure plenty of patrons (including myself) will leave the show with some sort of hearing loss. This band plays good old-fashioned rock music the way it should be. While it’s all quite simple with just a three piece they are still quite unique and really smash it live.
Like many songs the final performances of the night of ‘Asleep At The Wheel’ and ‘I Know What I Am’ left ears ringing. For those thinking of going to a future Band of Skulls gig (which I highly recommend you do) bring your earplugs. The Southampton rockers really bring the decibels, their live experience being almost a sense of controlled chaos with the band. These guys aren’t loud for the sake of being loud – it all serves a purpose.