Royal Republic may be from Sweden but this foursome are blistering hot. Launching straight into Save The Nation without as much as a hello, the band from Malmo set a furious pace to the night – so much so that drummer Per Andreasson broke his snare after only two songs.
Front man Adam Grahn is an out and out showman and he laps up the crowd’s adulation and gives it back tenfold – cajoling, encouraging and even scolding the people hanging around at the back of the venue to get more involved.
If Royal Republic were the Marx brothers, Grahn would be Groucho – the moustachioed funny man with a quick turn of phrase and a ready smile – while his brothers in rock Hannes would be Harpo, expert at contorting his face but without saying a word, while Jonas would be Zeppo, the straight-up nice guy.
Full Steam Spacemachine undoubtedly brought the biggest crowd reaction of the night, as the loving fans surged forward with a frenzy that put even Grahn’s efforts on stage to shame. Grahn controls the crowd like a master puppeteer and at one stage he makes everyone find a dance partner, take them by the waist and dance ‘like it was 70 years ago, when there was no sex before marriage’. Royal Republic even launch into a special barbershop quartet version of Addicted much to everyone’s delight.
‘Some one shout out a Metallica song, and we’ll play it’ screamed Adam – and they did just that – before indulging the crowd with his one big desire. ‘When I was growing up I wanted to be in a heavy metal band,’ he said. ‘But I’m not cool enough. Anyway, back to the pop!’
But a poppy gig it was not, as the Republic launched into more of their back catalogue including the frightfully true Cry Baby Cry and the ‘so funny you don’t realise how serious the lyrics are’ Underwear. Then Grahn hands over the microphone to bassist Jonas Almén, for him to unleash his guttural voice on I Don’t Want To Go Out and to surprise the audience with a rendition of Ace of Spades that sounded so authentic if you closed your eyes you would imagine Lemmy on stage instead of the clean cut, blond bassist.
The advantage of having two albums means that a band like Royal Republic, who love being on stage, can stay on it for much longer. Their encore went from one to two and then to three songs as they finally finished, drenched in sweat and hoarse, with We Are The Royal. They stayed on long after the final notes had finished reverberating around the area, shaking hands and bowing to the crowd. We are the Royal, indeed. Long live the kings.