I wish I could simply write, “I don’t have words to describe what I saw and experienced last night at the U.S. Royalty show,” however, that would be a very boring way to sum up everything I saw from this great new band, so I am going to try to do them justice since I am still trying to wrap my head around what I saw. The first time I heard of Washington D.C.-based U.S. Royalty was about 48 hours prior to the show and within 24 hours, I was hooked. Fortunately for me, they were playing at Chicago’s Schubas. I wandered in as one of the opening acts were playing and took that time to survey the crowd, which gave me some idea of what type of people wre fans of the band.
Firstly, there were a group of two girls and two guys taking flash photos of them double fisting beers and giggling, which I assume ended up on Instragram moments later. One of the members of this fan group also performed a concert first for me: he held up his phone mid-set to use “Shazam” to try and figure out who the opening band on stage was, he failed.
After I got over the amusement of that situation, the rest of the crowd showed promise; men in groups totally geeking out about technical aspects of the music being played and really attractive girls. My guess for what was about to be the main act was they would be extremely attractive, lean towards the traditionally rocker appearance and be technically skilled musician. With the opening “HAA” of Hollywood Hollows, I knew my prediction was on-point.
Having originally heard an acoustic version of their newest track “Sleepy Eyes,” I wasn’t prepared for the mix of fuzz guitars and overall badass rock that came out of these four guys. They have a mixture of traditional Southern, Americana rock with some blues and psychedelic guitars, all framed by beautiful vocal harmonies. While watching their live performance, I couldn’t help but compare their intensity to a Black Keys show I saw a while back mixed with the rawness of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Minutes later the vocal harmonies of the song “Equestrian” would have had any Fleet Foxes fan hooked. There was also this underlying hint of a Fleetwood Mac’s “Dream,” followed by gritty guitars.
The guys also played some new songs they have been working on and I am eagerly waiting for their next album. Until then their debut album “Mirrors” will be kept on repeat. Seeing U.S. Royalty was the best impulse decision I have made in a long time and at a venue that was too small for all their talent. Check out their website for limited upcoming tour dates.