Suits, Swedes and their second time visiting Manchester on a tour of the same name- sounds good to say out loud, yet even better to witness. Six months separated the two visits, much to the delight of returning fans. For fans that missed out, the tour can be seen as the second bite of the cherry. But that speaks volumes. Royal Republic have found their niche subculture market and have cemented themselves as leaders of their own genre. A genre which can only be described as ‘formally dressed rhythm rock’ or, as lead singer Adam Grahn jokingly puts it, ‘Kung-Fu rock’.
Not often can a band create such a demand for them to be able to tour the UK, tour Europe, then return back to the UK. The venue capacity slightly upgrading in the latter. However, they did. This time joined by british four-piece Tax The Heat who followed a similar formula to how Royal Republic present themselves. The similarities between the two bands making it understandable as to why the audience grew quickly to liking them as they promptly did. They did bring their own unique identity to the genre however, with the lead singer’s high, wobbly, Myles Kennedy-esque voice leading the smooth rhythm of the songs. A clever choice of support to prepare the crowd for the evening’s headliner.
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“I think we were just here” exclaims Royal Republic frontman Adam Grahn upon taking to the stage, and he wasn’t wrong. Not many people have experienced the peculiar scenario of an artist continuing conversations with the audience from past concerts. Due to the spacing between Royal Republic’s, that became a reality.
Blending music, jokes and fun with a unique panache and an epilepsy-inducing thunderbolt light-show. “Royal Republic proudly present the Weekend Man”, a smartly dressed pseudonym taken on by lead singer Adam Grahn- after asking the crowd to ‘summon him’ that is. The setlist didn’t step one foot wrong all night. Predominantly (and understandably) based around their 2016 “Weekend Man” album. The setlist did also branch out into other fan favourites too.
Comedic anecdotes blended the setlist together, aiding the transition from one to another. Paraphrasing a couple of 5 minute stories, Adam recalls, “as a child I used to be a real attention grabber, I’ve always had an excessive personality” before playing ‘People Say That I’m Over The Top’. When talking about the explicit 30 page fanfic someone made between him and guitarist Hannes (titled Royally In Love for those of you that are curious…) Adam exclaimed “if there was to be a man, it would be you [Hannes], you’d be my baby” before playing the song of the aptly aforementioned, ‘Baby’.
What makes the band stand out when playing live is that they seamlessly capture the fun aspect of what makes them so enjoyable to listen to. Making them one of the rare artists to sound exactly like they do on their records. Powering through their set- a plethora of infectious melodies which got the crowd screaming en masse after hearing a single chord being struck, the band played an almost unchanged setlist from the last time they were here. This deja vu inducing repeat only spurred the audience on however. The dedicated fan-base that they have amassed never dipped in enthusiasm all evening- Adam even stopping regularly so that they can finish the lyrics off for him.
An encore containing five songs played testament to where the band are now. An unusually lengthy continuation considering, but nobody was complaining. A situation where the band covered Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear of the Dark’ without Adam knowing any of the lyrics, only to have one of his crew to come on stage and hold the lyrics in front of his face while he sang made for interesting viewing. Finally, the night’s crescendo culminated in the galactically-themed ‘Full Steam Space Machine’.
“We hope you got your fix” the frontman concluded, and that was exactly the right choice of words to use. The reason this band is able to do a continuation of their tour is because they are just so addictive. When you pay to see Royal Republic you pay to see a show and you don’t leave disappointed. To answer his statement frankly, I don’t think anyone got their fix. We want more.