At Newcastle University, Newcastle, U.K., October 22, 2019

ROYAL REPUBLIC (Live at Newcastle University, Newcastle, U.K., October 22, 2019)
Photo: Rebecca Burgess

A lot has changed since Royal Republic last played Newcastle University’s Student Union back in 2016, supporting Theory of a Deadman; a new album, Club Majesty, new suits and, most importantly, more moustache from lead singer, Adam Grahn.

There has been an interactive element to this tour, with the band having a poll on their Facebook page, letting fans choose which suit they would like to see at the show in their city. Newcastle was given the choice of ‘Bitchin Black’ or ‘Reckless Red’, with the latter being the winner. Instead of delivering luggage, these hotel usher looking Swedes delivered a night of energy, humour and fun.

Rather appropriately, the band kicked off the set with “Fireman & Dancer”, making it clear from the offset that the band themselves were on fire. Following up with “Can’t Fight the Disco” and “Make Love Not War”, it certainly didn’t feel like a Tuesday night show, something the band themselves aimed to achieve, asking the crowd what day it was then answering themselves with a collective “Saturday”.

The Weekend Man himself, Grahn, kept the good times flowing with the catchy, “Undercover”, with the frontman’s quirky personality also shining through in between songs, not missing an opportunity to joke with the crowd. Taking a break from the music, Grahn informed the crowd how starving he was, sharing that he’d even missed Brexit before correcting himself, claiming to have meant to say breakfast. Similar jibes included referring to Newcastle as being in Scotland but, despite groans from the crowd, everyone seemed to be “Getting Along” swimmingly.

Crowd favourite, “Underwear” was halted midway through, as Grahn threw his guitar offstage before joining pocket rocket drummer, Per Andreasson behind the kit. Stepping back to centre stage, Grahn declared that the crowd must earn his used drumstick, storing it in his back pocket until he deemed them worthy of receiving it. And earn it they did, singing along to the classic “Fullsteam Spacemachine” with enough energy to rival the four Swedes on stage.

Showcasing fast favourites, “Like a Lover”, “Stop Movin’” and “Boomerang” from their May 2019 release, it was clear that, much like a boomerang, the Newcastle crowd hoped the Swedish rockers would be coming back very soon.

“Fortune Favors”, which Grahn’s own Father described as a ‘mix between Tom Petty and Rammstein’, saw bassist Jonas Almén rock a keytar, much to the crowd’s joy.

“Walk” and “Tommy-Gun” rounded off the set before the band finished up with, as Grahn put it, a surprisingly deep song for Royal Republic, “Anna-Leigh”.

If you thought a 14-song set would be enough for the Geordie crowd, you would be grossly mistaken. Starting off the encores with the punchy “When I See You Dance With Another” and the groovy “Flower Power Madness”, Grahn teased the crowd with the curfew time restraints. Having convinced the band that they wanted a Saturday, rather than a Tuesday, night finish, the crowd were treated to a surprising cover of Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark”, going down a storm with the British Heavy Metal fans in the crowd that night. Squeezing in “Baby” before time was up, the night came to a close.

As though they never wanted to leave, the boys ripped up setlists to pass to the crowd and guitarist, Hannes Irengård, hand delivered his guitar picks to the front row. Really, it’s no surprise the Swedes were reluctant to exit the stage as it’s clear to all that sees them, that it is exactly where they belong.

Review and Photos By Becks Burgess


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