Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr addresses backlash for Radio 1 Big Weekend set: “It was somewhat of a blip on my part”

Kerr clarifies he didn’t mean to alienate or cause offence to those in the crowd.

Royal Blood

Image: Roberto Finizio / Getty

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Mike Kerr, vocalist and bassist of Royal Blood, has responded after the rock duo faced backlash for their tense set at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend festival.

Royal Blood, which consists of Kerr alongside drummer Ben Thatcher, faced criticism online following their set at the festival last month (28 May), which took place in Dundee.

Placed between Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi on the festival bill, the band found themselves playing to a crowd who they assumed were not into rock music.

Kerr wasn’t shy about his disappointment in what he believed was not an engaged-enough crowd, “Who likes rock music?” he asked during the show. “Nine people. Brilliant.”

Later in the set, Kerr added, “We’re having to clap ourselves because that was so pathetic,” before turning to the camera and asking the operator: “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?”

Kerr was also captured giving two middle fingers to the audience when walking off stage, and footage of his annoyance faced backlash online.

Speaking to Greg James on BBC Radio 1, Kerr reflects on the set:  “I’m amazed, honestly, how that escalated to that kind of size. Walking off from that show, I felt I was being entertaining – in a way of trying to make light of the situation. I was doing a performance where I felt a little bit out of place.”

He continues, “It was somewhat of a blip on my part because it would’ve taken me three minutes to think ‘Maybe these people don’t know who you are’, I actually really enjoyed playing! I had a great time. The ending, to me, I felt like a sort of pro-wrestler… I felt like a kind of pantomime villain! I didn’t feel like I’d done anything, sort of, morally wrong. I felt like a bit of a wind-up, honestly.”

Kerr later adds that he acts different when onstage, as opposed to being “very quiet and quite awkward” when away from a crowd. “It’s very easy to get swept up in that energy,” he explained. “Honestly, it’s quite fun, and I don’t mean any offence. My intention isn’t to kind of alienate anyone or push anyone away.”

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