From the opening riff of “Sweet Sour” all the way till the very end of their set, Band of Skulls was a constant rock n' roll rumbling throughout Music Hall of Williamsburg. This Southampton, UK–based band is a prime example of a straightforward, solid rock band on the current scene. There’s nothing incredibly experimental or groundbreaking, but they’re not really trying to invent something new in rock - they’re just playing it. They’re not remarkable, but they are good. They play songs that are dark, dirty, and sound best blasted through giant speakers.
Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals), Emma Richardson (bass, vocals), and Matt Hayward (drums) all fit musically with each other, and the band’s overall mystique is just straight up coolness. Band of Skulls fans mirrored this image at the show. No one in the crowd got noticeably wild, and there was never any kind of pit going. The movement of most of people on the floor were coolly nodding appreciation. Between songs came the applause and cheering, acting as a reminder of this being a live show, but everyone was too cool to be crazy. This was a concert for the more mature rocker with their wits about them. Or something like that. It’s like the Brits have created this controlled energy that, on a loudness scale is just a notch under brain rupture volume, with playfully malicious songs that provoke a high adrenaline.
There was not much between song banter, either. They played almost entirely straight through a set of mostly new songs with some old sprinkled in. They still engaged the crowd and each other on stage. Marsden and Richardson would saunter across the large stage to play facing each other, and then play facing Hayward. Several times Marsden leaned over the edge of the stage, soloing in the faces of fans who had to break their cool exterior to smile wide and throw their hands up. The band really hit their cues, having toured so much already that they all knew exactly how to play through the night with total smoothness. Attitude is almost everything, and the solid, pounding rock base completes the Band of Skulls package.Band of Skulls are touring in support of their second album, Sweet Sour, all the way through August. They’ll be hitting up several summer festivals in Europe, including Leeds and Reading Festival. Find all dates here, listen to some tunes here, and stalk them here.