Black Rebel Motorcycle club have been one of those bands who release nothing but brilliant albums. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. Friday 29th March would see me going to see the band live for the first time. Did i enjoy it? Yes. Was the band good? Really good. Was it a good gig? For me, absolutely. For others, it would appear that sadly, it wasn’t.
After a couple of drinks in one of my favourite Nottingham bars, Spanky Van Dykes, myself and my fellow Mojo20 gig companions headed to tonight’s venue. Rock City. We made our way to the bar whilst people headed towards the stage following Big Pink’s support slot (a band I had no interest in seeing live). I got my usual choice of drink when at Rock City, a Carlsberg two pint pot and we made our way to the side of the stage. We weren’t waiting long when the lights dimmed and the Californian three-piece took to the stage. Without a moment’s hesitation, they launched in to ‘Let The Day Begin’, a song from their seventh album, Specter At The Feast. The pace of the song is fast and doesn’t stop anytime throughout, the energy was high with an anticipative crowd.
Rival, another song off the latest album and a personal favourite of mine was the next crowd pleaser, met with an appreciation from the crowd and myself. I could feel the energy building up. This continued with songs Red Eyes, Hate The Taste and Beat The Devil’s Tattoo. Unfortunately, I noticed that I seemed to be the only person singing along to this catchy tune. It was here that I noticed the build up of energy I thought I was feeling, might’ve been a premature one.
The next choice of song, a classic BRMC one. Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song). The crowd absolutely loved it and that energy was finally being released from the fairly tame audience. How do you follow such a brilliant track? By doing another one. This came in the form of ‘Aint No Easy Way’. The crowd had started to fall back in to their tame state again but that didn’t matter to me, this was another favourite of mine and I was going to enjoy myself whether I was on my own in doing so or not.
Berlin, 666, Love Burns and Returning all followed. The energy seemed to be at an all time low and it was at this point, I kind of felt sorry for the band. They were “tearing the place up” and there didn’t seem to be a huge deal of audience participation. I’m not saying people should go mental at every gig they attend but is it really hard to nod their head in time to the music or at the very least, tap their foot? The next item on the setlist was a beautiful, mellow piece by Peter Hayes on the piano and Robert Levon Been on the acoustic guitar. It was a beautiful few minutes and showed the raw talent that the guys possess. It also gave Leah Shapiro a bit of time to rest after some phenomenal drumming throughout the gig so far. Following this stripped back performance; Fire Walker, Conscience Killer, Lullaby, Funny Games, In Like Rose and Six Barrel were unleashed on the crowd. At times, the band managed to make it feel like the whole building was shaking. Hardly surprising when the band were once known as ‘The band who broke the floor” following a gig in Leeds where the show had to be cut short due to concerns the floor was going to buckle beneath everyone in attendance. I noticed throughout these songs that the space around me seemed to be more accessible due to some people leaving from the gig early. This was a big mistake as the crowd who had remained were there to witness a stella performance of Spread Your Love. a phenomenal song which always goes down well whether you hear it on your iPod, in a club or at a BRMC show. After a brief rest off stage, the band came back for an encore. The encore consisted of Sell It and Lose Yourself, a delightful song off Specter At The Feast.
From talking to people after the show, the general vibe of the night was that it went on for too long. I personally don’t think it did and surely it’s better to feel that you got your money’s worth than feeling like you’ve paid for only a few songs throughout the gig?
Words by Robert Smith. (@robertmsmith)