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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Electric Ballroom | Live review

  Tuesday 4th February 2014

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are a band with a curious parable. This San Francisco trio, at the beginning of 2000 and before everyone else, were already playing a kind of tribute to the shoegaze (with the Jesus and Mary Chain as a landmark), becoming almost a rare bird in the music business. That’s because at the time, The Strokes and similar power pop bands were up to date. When everyone started to play shoegaze, the band worked hard in order to wash out this reputation and slowly have been working on their musical skills, changing their sound in a personal hybrid between garage, pop and rock n roll. This parable is clearly visible in records like B.R.M.C., Take Them On, On Your Own, Howl, and most of all in the latest Beats the Devil’s Tattoo (2011) and Specter at the Feast (2013), where this mutation is over.

The band show their skills and muscles onstage in front of a packed Electric Ballroom in Camden. It is clear that the band want to show their attitude and want the audience to be high, as they open the live set with a rock n roll trio: Hate the Taste, a bluesy-garage power song, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, dirty rock n roll, and a cover of The Call’s Let the Day Begin. Acid guitars continue in Rivals, showing a glam-rock feature of the band’s personality; the same in the following Ain’t No Easy and in the catchy Berlin, with its powerful singalong chorus. The audience now in ecstasy, half of it moshing.

It is then time for the nine minutes of American X, which opens the second half of the show, where the band displays a stoner feature, with some hard rock slivers and a touch of psych. Red Eyes and Tears is a hard blues love story, while Six Barrel Shotgun and Funny Games rip up the stage with their punk arrangements. The psychedelic eight minutes of Lose Yourself unveils a romantic side of the band with its soft finale. The last part of the live show is all about the most popular songs: Spread Your Love, and the two encores Shuffle Your Feet and Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song).

These three men from San Francisco may not be the best band in the world, but if we are talking about scenic presence and power on stage, well, they are among the greats.

Lorenzo Cibrario
Photos: Erol Birsen

For further information about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and future events visit here.

Watch the video for Let the Day Begin here:


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Lorenzo Cibrario

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