Music Notes: U.S. Royalty Shines with Mirrors

by Editorial

D.C. rock band U.S. Royalty generated major heat at Rock N Roll Hotel and kept the chill outside during their anticipated album release concert and after party.
By Grace Romanowsky

US Royalty Guitarist Jacob Michael. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

US Royalty Guitarist Jacob Michael. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

The temperatures outside were frigid, but tickets for this show to celebrate the release of  U.S.Royalty (U.S.R.)’s first album “Mirrors” were a hot item. Inside, U.S.R. kept the sold-out crowd cozy by playing songs off their new album mixed with cover songs from the likes of the Rolling Stones. Known for their high energy performances and fashion sense  – they love to “rock” ’70s inspired dress shirts, vests, unimaginably tight pants, and snake-skin shoes and were chosen as “2010’s Best Dressed Rock Band” in Esquire’s Style Blog – the D.C. natives did not disappoint. They also mix and match well musically, incorporating unique instruments such as harmonicas, maracas and the shaker guiro into their songs.

The band, typically comprised of four members, brothers John Thornley and Paul Thornley, singer and guitarist respectively, bassist Jacob Michael and drummer Luke Adams, were joined this night by two friends, Lex Paulson (keyboard) and Daniel Newhauser (every obscure percussion instrument imaginable). The resulting combination filled the venue with with a full rich sound and lots of charisma. At one point John even took a proverbial rock n roll dive into the pool of H Street hipsters who enthusiastically enveloped him – PBR tall boy cans raised high. By the end of the night, the room was bursting at the seams – just like John’s blazer, which might have seen its last performance, thanks to the front man’s constant movement.


Although this was technically the band’s first album release party, ardent fans seemed to know all the lyrics and sang along to songs such as “Equestrian.” The group has already also gained widespread regional popularity, regularly gigs in NYC and is eyeing a more national stage for its infectious indie sound. We hope to see them soon on the Grammy’s, following the recent  success of D.C. artists such as Wale. The performance was followed by a pulsating after-party where CD’s and merchandise were available for purchase and the band talked and took pictures with fans.

US Royalty Lead Singer John Thornley. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

US Royalty Lead Singer John Thornley. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

John Thornley and his tambourine. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

The energetic crowd. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

Brothers John and Paul Thornley. (Photo by Grace Romanowsky)

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