Monday, June 04, 2007

BRMC at the TLA: 6.1.07

saw Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in philly this weekend at the TLA. missed the first warmup act (thank you I-95 gaper delay) but arrived in time for:

the Cobbs
local philly boys, the Cobbs are BRMC-lite. same kind of riffing heavy guitar but with less substance and polish. standard band line-up, with one notable exception: a dude whose job, as far as i could ascertain, was to bang a tambourine to a beat that roughly approximated the band's. i want to think bud was tripping hard, cos that might explain his spaced, beatific expression – and why sometimes he'd sidle up to one of the guitarists and spoon him from behind. dude creeped me out a bit. i wonder if he's part of the band or somebody's shortbus brother the Cobbs bring onstage whenever they're in town.

good warmup act for BRMC anyway.

for three guys, BRMC generate an improbable amount of sound, though sometimes they'd bring a 4th onstage when two tracks of meaty guitar reverb weren't enough. a far cry from the Cobbs' sketchy loomer, BRMC's extra (named Spike, natch) could play (guitar & keyboard), was bewitching in an unkempt aaron north kinda way, and didn't rub up on anybody that i saw.

this band has endurance, man. they started their set around 11 and released us two hours later.

set list was something like this:
Took Out A Loan
Lien On Your Dreams
In Like The Rose
Ain't No Easy Way
Weapon Of Choice
Punk Song
Not What You Wanted
666 Conducer
Need Some Air
American X
Fault Line
Devil's Waitin'
Love Burns
All You Do Is Talk

6 Barrel Shotgun
Sympathetic Noose
Spread Your Love
Shuffle Your Feet

some songs, like Window, Spread Your Love, and Shuffle Your Feet, were excellent. and seeing American X's 4-min-long winding guitar solo live was worth the ticket price – good good stuff. the guitars were ON. In Like the Rose is perfect live because you see it built from scratch: peter sets up a pulsing electronic throb, then robert lays down an organic, bass-y, winding riff on top. here's a clip on something called YouTube: check it out.

but another thing that sets BRMC apart from the madding crowd of shitty bands is their full, rough-edged vocals, so it was a real disappointment that the sound guys totally blew that mix: for much of the show the vocals sank below the instruments and were lost. songs like Weapon of Choice and 666 Conducer lose much of their bite when they're rendered down to just guitar & drums. i think Window was so good BECAUSE robert hung up his guitar in favor of a piano, which he COULD sing above. same deal with Shuffle Your Feet: spike popped back behind a mic and when all three sang “ti-i-i-i-ime won't save our souls” a cappella, your skin just prickled with the Rightness of it all. another vid clip for ya. notice how the vocals just drop away when the guitars kick in.

so, sometimes the Club was on-on, and sometimes i just wasn't feeling them, which is a shame because their music is so freaking good. sweet guys, though: they requested house lights during the encore -- so i can see you all, explained robert -- who then took audience requests for the rest of the night.

BRMC is proof that rock n' roll ain't dead yet.


canary said...

Your blog is very interesting!
Please, send me the photo of your pc desk.
I'll publish on my blog!.


Theo said...

BRMC: Awesome! Bummer about the wonky vocal mix, though. Was "Ain't No Easy Way" any kind of standout?

finn said...

it was def a crowd favorite. and now it's in my head!! thank you teho.

have you seen them live?

i always assumed that one person did vocals, but no -- P & R's voices are just weirdly similar.

Brown Suga' said...

Wow, I'd never heard of these guys until you mentioned them a few posts back, but I loved the way you described their concert. I could see it all happening in my head - on mute, of course.