TVD Live Shots: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
at the O2 Kentish Town Forum, 7/26

Is there a cooler fucking band on the planet than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? I think not.

These guys are the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, and eight albums into a steady and impressive near two-decade career they continue to make brilliant albums as if the digital single had never been invented. Although I’ve always been a fan of these guys, first seeing them at legendary Emo’s in Austin during the tour for their first record, I really fell in love with them on their third release. It’s one of the best records, start to finish, that I’ve ever heard—sixty minutes and twenty-six seconds of pure genius songwriting and production, entitled Baby 81.

Baby 81 was the last album for BRMC on a major label before going independent. “Berlin,” “Weapon of Choice,” “Took Out a Loan,” “Windows.” Holy shit, this record is brilliant. You can tell there’s a major label behind it because it’s too perfect. I would guess that there was a tremendous amount of pressure on these guys to deliver a breakthrough record with every critic in the world raving about them. But that’s a story for another time—on to the show at hand in London.

BRMC in London. I’ve been waiting years for this moment. Fresh off some US tour dates supporting Depeche Mode and between festival gigs across Europe, London gets a proper concert at the legendary Forum. The show that night was jam-packed during what would be one of the hottest days in the history of the UK. London is not built to deal with heat like this, especially with a couple of thousand people going ballistic inside of a nonventilated theater built in the ’30s.

Twenty four songs, two hours plus, and these guys never even took off their black leather motorcycle jackets. That’s fucking commitment. While BRMC has more than enough songs to choose from, I was really hoping to hear “Hate the Taste” from 2013’s Specter at the Feast in the set as I think it’s an under-celebrated classic. But all in all, while most bands struggle to deliver 90 minutes on tour, BRMC truly go above and beyond—over delivering—and clearly blowing some minds while doing so. The back and forth vocals between Peter and Robert is something that could have easily gone on for another hour. (Speaking of extended sets, I’m guessing that it’s time to tour in support of the 20th anniversary of the eponymous debut record and play it in its entirety?)

One final note, I just read a review in the Guardian where the reviewer gave the show a two-star rating for the show in Glasgow. I’m quite sure it was a similar set that I saw in London, and I find it impossible to not love this show if you like this band. Maybe it’s another jaded critic who was on assignment and missed the point altogether. Regardless, it casts a lazy shadow on a group that has nothing left to prove, but continue to deliver one hell of a show for those of us who get it. And there are quite a few of us around the globe.

BRMC’s latest release Wrong Creatures is in record stores now and it sounds fantastic on vinyl. Go get it.

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