Royal Thunder at The Beat Kitchen~ Review
I first heard of the Atlanta metal band Royal Thunder from a review in the Black Sabbath edition of this year’s Metal Hammer magazine.
Based on that article alone I purchased their latest album CVI and became an instant fan. I did some online investigating and realized they were touring with Pallbearer and they would be playing at one of my favorite seedy Chicago bar venues, the Beat Kitchen.
I love a local, small venue that serves great food and a positive rock and roll attitude. Seems like those kind of places are getting harder to find in the city with hipsters and yuppies taking over every cool thing about Chicago. It was nice being among my people and feeling at home again.
After catching up with a couple of familiar faces I’ve seen working in the local metal scene, I headed on back to the venue part of the bar to jockey for a decent position in the intimate, punk sized space. Perfect for hearing bands very loud and raw. Not only did Royal Thunder achieve that in spades but they surpassed my expectations and sounded amazing and I dare say better than their recording.
Lead singer and bass guitarist Mlny Parsonz started off the set by throwing her head back like a reptile soaking up the sun as she gathered her energy and channeled everyone else’s in the club. I have to be honest here and admit that track listings are not my strong suit. I was so wrapped up in the album that I never paid much attention and didn’t even realize that Mlny was the bassist until I saw her on stage giving it a good shred. I tend to do that though…I absorb an album first and then go back for the particulars and pick out those tracks that bear a repeat listen. I’m one of those that likes to listen to full length albums as they were intended to be heard instead of a random shuffle of genre.
Of course I left my good camera at home because for the next two days after this gig I was heading to Riot Fest and didn’t have a press pass therefore “good” cameras are not allowed, but that’s another story. Back to Royal Thunder and the powerhouse performance in a tiny space.
Even after the first day of Riot Fest, I felt that the best band I had seen up to that point was the Royal Thunder gig the night before on the other side of town. The only way to really put the feeling into words would be to say that I was mesmerized and glued to the spot I found for myself and I stood there being blissfully blown away. For me, it was like if Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard and The Cure got together and produced a divine daughter with whiskey vocals that power through like Janis Joplin, Johnette Napolitano and Joan Jett with the haunting echo of Siouxsie Sioux. All the influences I could pick out only culminated into something entirely original and captivated everyone in the room. It’s an awesome gig when all you can hear afterwards is people huddling and talking about how “bad ass” it was and you see them hurry to the merch booth to buy CD’s and shirts.
Being of the female persuasion and into music not typical of my gender, it’s hard to find an original kick ass metal band with a strong female lead that doesn’t have that feel that they will eventually sell out. The energy and feeling the band projected on stage sucked me in like warm bath. I’m not sure what witchery might have been afoot, but if you want a great musical experience, check out Royal Thunder for yourself. I can tell you that they are some of the nicest musicians I’ve met and ready with a smile for you and up for answering any questions you might have. Check out RT’s guitar twins! Not related at all, but a couple of really tall, friendly dudes whose clear faces you can sometimes only see at the merch booth, because when they are jammin’ they get lost in an exquisite sea of hair.
Case in point.
Wanna get a picture? No sweat. Did I mention they were tall? Oh….look, a photo bomb too! Silly boys.
After the gig, I had the chance to talk to Mel outside for a bit. I let her know who the hell I was and that I wanted to do this little write up for their band and to let her know that my mind was properly blown and that I look forward to seeing how their musical career grows and that if I can help them along that winding road, then I’m up for the task.
Royal Thunder, people. Click all their links on this review, LIKE their Facebook page and BUY their music.