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Mike Kerr
Mike KerrPhoto by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Brewdog-adjacent band Royal Blood scream at children about rock music

At BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, the frontman of Royal Blood Mike Kerr lambasted the ‘pathetic’ audience for not liking their little bops

The rock duo Royal Blood are getting dragged after footage of frontman Mike Kerr complaining about their audience went viral. (Imagine Alex Turner’s infamous Brit Awards speech but for people who own shares in Brewdog.)

The incident took place at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Dundee, where the mostly pre-teen audience was – as Kerr saw it – insufficiently enthusiastic about rock music. At the end of their set, the plum-voiced singer hectored the crowd, saying, “Well, I guess I should introduce ourselves seeing as no one actually knows who we are. We’re called Royal Blood and this is rock music. Who likes rock music? Nine people, brilliant.”

He then began clapping for himself because the audience’s applause was “pathetic”, before pointing at a cameraman and saying, “Even he’s clapping – what does that say about you?” Finally, in a hair-raising display of rock ‘n’ roll defiance, Kerr gave the crowd two middle fingers and stormed off stage. What makes it more bizarre is that the crowd did appear to be clapping and cheering, just not effusively enough to Kerr’s liking.

People were correct to say that Kerr’s behaviour was embarrassing and petulant, but it’s hard not to feel a little sorry for the guy. If his complaint is that people are no longer invested in rock music, he’s not exactly incorrect. Ever since the notorious Disco Demolition Night in 1979, when rock fans burned disco records at a baseball stadium, there has been bad blood between rock and pop – but the battle is now over and pop has won.

The kind of bland, FIFA soundtrack rock that Royal Blood deal in is still commercially successful, but it could not be further from the zeitgeist. Today, no one cares about “epic riffage”. Prestigious music publications are more likely to give a positive review to Charli XCX than Muse (and rightly so).

In 2023, the archetypal dude-bro who thinks only white guys with guitars make real music has been vanquished – or betrayed his own side and started waxing lyrical about how Taylor Swift is her generation’s Joni Mitchell. Whom among us can blame the guy from Royal Blood – faced with the stark and incontrovertible truth of his own irrelevance – for lashing out? The war is over, and it is upon the poptimists to be gracious victors.