A brief summary of some of Sweden’s most successful exports: ABBA, IKEA, assorted fuit ciders (see Rekorerlig, Kopparberg) and more recently, Royal Republic, who seem to have done a lot of capering around our great isles of late. Their world is clearly something else, fast paced, and high energy, sharp suits and jokes that just about toe the line of vulgarity. Bringing all of this, in the form of their live show to Manchester’s Academy 2 on a Friday night is a sure fire way to get people’s weekends off to the right kind of start. Plus, with a tour entitled The Weekend Man, where could you possibly go wrong?
Entering the stage to a slightly OTT fanfare (which doesn’t seem OTT at the time because it basically sums up Royal Republic in a nutshell), When I See You Dance With Another sets the pace for the rest of the show- infectious and energetically unrelenting. Make Love Not War (If You Have To Make War- Make Sure To Make Time To Make Love In Between) may sound like the most utterly long-winded song title, however with breaks in the music to shout this cheeky little side note, it comes off as witty and just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek. Underwear perfectly demonstrates the toeing of the former mentioned line, while calls for spirit fingers and shouts of “We want to introduce you to a buddy of ours, Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you, The Weekend Man!!” segue into, well, The Weekend Man.“This is a song by me, for me, about me” exclaims vocalist Adam Grahn, revelling in the attention he gets on a nightly basis, before launching into the aptly named People Say I’m Over The Top. The acoustic version of Addictive is a highlight; a juxtaposition between the mellow acoustic vibes, versus the lyrical content of the song (I’m adic-dic-dic-dic-dicted to you complete with a euphoric yell of “I’m a dick!!” at the end), achieves the desired comedy factor. Tommy Gun has a similar effect in the comedy stakes, providing an explosive burst before the encore.Returning for a particularly long encore, and after slowing things down slightly with Follow The Sun, Royal Republic bust out a cover of Iron Maiden’s Fear Of The Dark. Seemingly a massive undertaking, and although Grahn has to enlist the help of a tech to google the lyrics and hold them in front of his face, his impression of Bruce Dickinson is absolutely spot on. The crowd chants are so reminiscent of festival season, you can basically smell the grass (and probably the mud and rain too). Full Steam Space Machine brings to an end what has been an unwaveringly energetic set.
While they may not be anything too groundbreaking, there are three things that are for certain about Royal Republic. 1) They are an undeniably fun band to see live, and anyone attempting to say otherwise, is probably lying. 2) They are incredibly unable to take anything seriously, and 3) It is pretty much impossible to keep your feet still at a Royal Republic show.Photos by Forte Photography UK