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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Rock City, Nottingham, 29/3/2013

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 24 / 3 / 2013

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Rock City, Nottingham, 29/3/2013


Anthony Strutt enjoys a intense set of rock and roll from San Francisco trio the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to promote their seventh album 'Specter at the Feast' at Rock City in Nottingham

It is Friday night and again it is freezing cold. Both the bands on the bill at Rock City tonight are three pieces, and both are almost unknown to the non-muso. The Big Pink are signed to 4AD, and when I first saw them a few years ago a then small band called the XX supported them. The Big Pink do big songs that are heavy on wah-wah guitar and dance beats. They pull in a decent early evening crowd as tonight's gig will be over by 10 p.m. which suits me just fine as I have to travel back to Leicester. A lot of the people down the front know the words, while 'Dominos', which closes their set, is known to most people as it has been the theme tune to an Xbox 360 televison advertisment. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have been around in one form or other since 1998. Originally from San Francisco, but now Los Angeles-based, they have released seven albums including this year's 'Specter at the Feast'. They are a solid three piece that lost their original drummer Nick Jago back in 2008. He was replaced by the Raveonettes' touring drummer Leah Shapiro, a chick that hits a hard drum. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's two other members are bassist Rob Been and guitarist Peter Hayes, and both co-share vocals. Rob is the son of Michael Been, who worked for the B.R.M.C. as a sound engineer and was the front man in the Call. Michael sadly passed away in 2010, and Rob will be soon stepping into his old man's shoes and playing the part of his father at two forthcoming comeback gigs by the Call in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is the marriage of Rob and Peter's voices and bass and guitar that makes the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club so special. They play a brand of sleazy, dirty, sexy rock 'n' roll that the industry has sadly been missing in recent years. The band have pretty much worked on their reputation of playing lengthy live gigs, and this has built their following rather than just record sales alone. Tonight they play what is for them a somewhat shorter set of just two hours, and, like the Cure, they play mostly in the dark on a stage heavy on strobe lighting. While the majority of the audience are here for their big three numbers from their 2001 debut album 'B.R.M.C.'- 'What Ever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)?', 'Love Burns', and 'Spread Your Love'- they do as always give a round-up of their entire catalogue. Their latest, 'Specter at the Feast', gets a good airing, but they deliver the more familiar tunes to get the crowd in the mood first. For me the new album is as good as anything they have done, but as it has only been out a mere five days the crowd have yet to get used to it. All the numbers tonight are played well, and both Peter and Rob pour their hearts out in songs full of reverb and heartache with even a bit of gospel getting dropped in from time to time. Several numbers are even played on the piano, showing that the band are a lot more then the United States Jesus and Mary Chain they were once praised as. To quote the band, 'Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll?' It has just melted away, but now in their excellent hands it is back again.

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Rock City, Nottingham, 29/3/2013

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Rock City, Nottingham, 29/3/2013

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live reviews

Brixton Academy, London, 11/12/2010
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Brixton Academy, London, 11/12/2010
At what was their thousandth show, Anthony Strutt at the Brixton Academy watches San Francisco rockers the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, despite having lost their regular drummer, play two career-spanning sets of furious rock 'n' roll
Octagon, Sheffield University, 4/11/2003

digital downloads



Specter At The Feast (2013)
Eclectic seventh album from abrasive San Francisco-based rockers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Berlin (2007)
Baby 81 (2007)
Ain't No Easy Way (2005)

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