Royal Blood, Welles a memorable one-two punch at Wiltern

royal blood wiltern

Wednesday night, a packed crowd at The Wiltern got to experience a double dose of rock n roll, topped by UK rock duo Royal Blood.

After a number of memorable festival sets, Royal Blood returned to Los Angeles in a big way. They got great support from Welles — a fast-rising rock project from Jeh-sea Welles.

Welles has an interesting sound — Welles can alternate from a Layne Staley of Alice in Chains type crooning to an impressive falsetto. This feat was most impressive on “Into Ashes”. Most surprising was their cover of Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”, especially when he delivered the final chorus in a gravelly almost Cobain-esque manner.

Welles had a pretty solid crowd assembled despite the 8:30 PM set time, and with only this year’s Codeine EP out, that bodes well for their future prospects.

By the time Royal Blood took the stage, the crowd was ready. It was the band’s first full show in Los Angeles since releasing their critically-acclaimed sophomore record How Did We Get So Dark? — an album title that could double as the slogan of the Trump campaign.

Their brand of riff-driven rock is in the vein of ’90s post-grunge acts like Silverchair, but somehow it’s just two guys making all these noises. Someone turned to me and said, “Holy shit they’re making sounds I’ve only heard Muse makes, and that dude is just playing bass.”

Lead vocalist and bass guitarist Mike Kerr has a voice reminiscent of the dude from Toadies (you know “Possum Kingdom”). This is a band that needs very little production. With a shimmering set of lights behind them, the two rocked for more than an hour, barely giving the crowd time to catch their breath. By the second song “Lights Out”, the crowd was fully immersed.

The biggest ovation came during “Little Monster”, a track from their debut record. They also did a little bit of OutKast’s “Hey Ya” in spoken word format, which was funny. But most surprisingly was seeing Kerr play some keyboards, it was like seeing a fish out of water but he crushed it.

As always, Ben Thatcher was a Terminator on the drums. He’s one of the best drummers in rock music right now, and proof that anyone says rock n roll is dead just isn’t paying attention.

Royal Blood isn’t finished on the festival circuit, with a stop at Austin City Limits. They’ll also be playing the rock-driven Dave Grohl-curated Cal Jam 17 in San Bernardino, don’t miss that!