As 7 o’clock draws closer there is a buzz about Camden as people head to the Electric Ballroom. Canadian rockers Theory of a Deadman are heading with support from the proudly Swedish Royal Republic. This mix of nations promises to be a good night of rock and does not disappoint.
Royal Republic are everything you could want from a support band and more. The Sweedish rockers crank out headbanger after headbanger, keeping the crowd moving and hyped up. The band enter the stage in a regal way, very fitting for their name, to epic background music and offering gentle royal waves to the crowd. However, this changed with the real start of their set. No sooner had the first guitar been strummed, the entire audience is moving.
Even seeing the band and not knowing any songs, they keep you interested. There is the occasional unexpected gem with a lone cowbell or witty spoken line. All four members ooze confidence and they just look so comfortable and at home up on the stage. In fact the drummer is so comfortable, he takes a moment mid song to put his feet up, not missing a single beat all the while.
The infectious energy and solid beat of their songs could easily fill an arena, support or otherwise. This makes the Electric Ballroom no challenge as they quickly have the crowd eating out of their hand. The genuine pleasure of seeing this band was like somehow stumbling across a shining diamond in the middle of Camden. Unfortunately for headliners Theory of a Deadman, this leaves them with a tough bar to reach.
Things start very upbeat with ‘Blame Canada‘ playing over the speakers as intro music before the band launch into ‘Lowlife‘. It’s a great set-starter with the catchy beat and bass line instantly getting most of the crowd clapping.
After the first two songs Tyler addresses the audience “We’re gonna play some rock’n’roll songs, a couple of hip hop tracks and a Justin Bieber cover,” he tells them, wandering about the stage to address each side of the venue. His statement is met with a chorus of boo’s. The vocalist simply laughs and says to his band mates, “Cut the hip hop song.” This is typical of the banter that last the rest of the set, including the usual dedication of ‘Bitch Came Back’ to all the girls at the show.
One thing that tonights headliners will always stand out for, live and recorded, is their guitar solos. They are one of a disappointing amount of modern bands that still know the power of a good solo and split them between the guitarist and the singer. This is especially demonstrated when they play ‘Drown‘, from the latest album.
Not only can these guys start a set, they sure know how to finish it. The main set is wrapped up with the two singles that first threw them into the public eye, ‘Not Meant To Be‘ and ‘I Hate My Life‘. During both Tyler lets the audience sing a few bits without him and it’s clear that the crowd have a real passion for the music they are watching. The encore then consists of a quick medley of ‘Sweet Home Alabama‘ and ‘Paradise City‘, followed by ‘Bad Girlfriend’, both high energy, both leaving the crowd buzzing as they leave.
The key to seeing a TOAD show is having that passion for their music. If you know and love their songs on an album, you’ll love them live, but Royal Republic don’t need to rely on that and really stole the show tonight.