“My message is that I meant no offence. We look forward to coming back. And applause is optional.”
Royal Blood have addressed their controversial performance at Radio 1’s Big Weekend festival in Dundee, Scotland, which involved vocalist and bassist Mike Kerr flipping off the audience.
In case you missed it, on Sunday, 28 May, Royal Blood were wedged between pop acts Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi, offering a bass-driven brand of rock music to a crowd who wasn’t their usual audience.
After introducing themselves to the crowd (“seeing as nobody knows who we actually are”) and receiving a quieter response than expected, Kerr asked, “Who likes rock music?” He received some applause and cheers before replying, “Nine people. Brilliant.”
In footage captured at the gig, he continued, “We’re having to clap ourselves because that was so pathetic.” He turned to the camera, looked at the crowd, and began mocking: “Will you clap for us? Will you clap? You’re busy. Can you clap? Yes, even he’s clapping. What does that say about you?”
At the end of their performance, Kerr threw up his middle fingers, flipping off the crowd the whole time as he walked off the stage.
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In a new interview with Radio 1, Royal Blood addressed the incident, with Kerr stating that he “meant no offence”.
On his behaviour and the following online criticism, Kerr said, "I’m amazed, honestly, at how that escalated to that kind of size,” per Loudwire. “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."
Kerr explained that he felt it was all a “windup,” and continued, “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."
Admitting that he got swept up in the moment, Kerr said, “I don’t mean any offence. My intention is never to alienate anyone or kind of push anyone away.” Drummer Ben Thatcher called the moment “stupid” but called the pushback online “nasty”.
"It wasn't nice. I can't lie about it,” Thatcher confessed. “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."
Leaving one last note, Kerr concluded, “My message is that I meant no offence. We look forward to coming back. And applause is optional.”
You can watch their response below.