Black Rebel Motorcycle Club LIVE @ 02 Academy Newcastle

What ever happened to my rock’n’roll? 

I enjoyed myself tonight. That’s the entire point isn’t? Of Life? To enjoy those moments that take you away from the painful realities of existence. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club did that for me tonight. If I were to follow the habitual music journalistic template, I would be sat here typing away on the old keys telling you that tonight, ‘the crowd were whipped up into a frenzy’, or that ‘the audience was transfixed’. Well, for a start, I shall not be doing that. Firstly because I’m not a fucking imbecile, secondly because it would be complete and utter bullshit. Deep breaths Steven, deep breaths…I shall come back to this whinge later.

My first sonic encounter with BRMC must have been during the winter of 2001. Me and my mate Deen used to go on the rob at our local library, who would always for some very strange reason have a very eclectic range of CD’s available for rent. So we would nick a few on our dinner break at school, take them home and copy the fuckers. We’d always take them back though, I’m not completely heartless.  I digress. Well amongst one particular heist was ‘B.R.M.C’, which made a huge impression on me with its shimmering shoegaze guitars and disgustingly dirty bass lines. I can’t lie here; they have never recaptured the essence or power of that debut album. However, their longevity has to be admired, with recent release ‘Specter at the Feast’ arguably their best piece of work in the last decade.

So tonight was an opportunity to see to some rampant rock and roll music. They didn’t disappoint. From opener ‘Hate the Taste’ to the stomping ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo’, into a hypnotic ‘Ain’t No Easy Way’, the intensity of a BRMC live set is pretty unrivalled. What did disappoint however, the appalling reaction of a rather sparse crowd? While showing off some pretty impressive dance moves, I may, have accidently, stood on some daft cunt’s foot. To which I received a rather damning response. I shall never understand why anyone would shell out £25 to stand in silence and then start crying if somebody, accidently, stands on your foot and spills his pint all over your lass. Ahhhh…..

Anyway, my snake hips recovered from this inconsequential setback, as the ambient brilliance of ‘Returning’ and ‘Lullaby’ complimented the dirty fuzz of ‘Stop’ and ‘Berlin’. Newcastle’s O2 Academy is at the best of times a fucking morgue, so it was nice to see the sound engineer pull his fingers out of his arse as the set moved towards its culmination, with the eardrum bursting bass distortion of ‘Spread Your Love’ and ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock’n’Roll’ eventually stirring the walking dead into a response. Top stuff.

So let me be clear here. On the 28th August 2013, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were stimulating and serious, an inspiring combination. Where’s my school bag?  I’m going back to that library tomorrow…..

Steven Wood