Royal Blood Address Backlash After Flipping Off Festival Crowd
Last week, Royal Blood went viral after a set that saw them chide the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend festival audience for their lack of enthusiasm during the performance before frontman Mike Kerr walked off at the end of the set while flipping the bird to the crowd.
As expected, plenty of discussion circulated afterward about where to lay the blame for the incident, with some calling out the band for their reaction to the tepid crowd response, others bemoaning the audience and some fans taking exception with the bookers who placed them between two significant pop acts within the festival lineup.
Now, Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have addressed the incident publicly, going on BBC 1 to speak with host Greg James about the incident (as seen below).
"Yeah that really escalated," stated Kerr upon being asked about the response after the show. Drummer Ben Thatcher added, “It was a moment of madness that has gotten out of control, I think. And we actually love the gig. We love playing music, and we love doing what we do. So it’s been a bit of a mad week to come out of this.”
Sharing a bit of his insight on what happened during the show, Kerr offered, "’m amazed, honestly, at how that escalated to that kind of size. I think walking off from that show I felt I was being entertaining in a way of trying to lighten the situation, perhaps. I was doing a performance where I felt a little out of place. I expected to be a little bit bemused and maybe confuse a few people, but not to that kind of scale. Yeah, [it's] pretty wild."
He then added, "It was somewhat of a blip on my part because it would have taken me three minutes to think, 'Oh, maybe these people don’t know who you are.' But I wasn’t going through that thought process. I was, like, very pumped backstage. And I actually really enjoyed playing. I had a great time. The ending, to me, I felt like a sort of pro wrestler. I was sort of walking off like — I felt like a sort of pantomime villain. I didn’t feel like I’d done anything morally wrong. I felt like a bit of a windup, honestly. That’s how I felt."
Kerr went on to add that when he's in the zone onstage, there's a part of his personality that only exists in that context. He added that he was energized and got swept up in the moment. "I don’t mean any offense. My intention is never to alienate anyone or kind of push anyone away," he added.
Thatcher conceded that the moment was "stupid," and then spoke about some of the backlash he'd seen online, noting, "It wasn't nice. I can't lie about it. It's not nice to see things like that. There are some funny things that go up, but most of it is pretty nasty. But that's another thing."
When asked to share a message to the people at the show, Kerr offered, “My message is that I meant no offense. We look forward to coming back. And applause is optional.”
Royal Blood are just getting back in the touring groove after dropping the new song "Mountains at Midnight" and announcing their Back to the Water Below album last week. The group also just announced dates for their fall 2023 North American tour. Be sure to get your tickets here.