March 12. 2010
B.R.M.C. Night 2 of 3
The Echoplex, Los Angeles
Robert Levon Been and Leah Shapiro
You can read about my 10-year love affair with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, as well as my review of Friday night’s show, here. Last night was night 2 of 3 sold-out B.R.M.C. shows at The Echoplex and they did not disappoint.
They’re supporting their new album, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, so naturally they played some of the same songs during both Friday and Saturday’s sets. That said, having gone both nights, B.R.M.C. managed to make each show feel entirely different. It’s difficult to describe and I’m not sure I want to. Just know that last night’s show made me want to go again Sunday night. The music and their performance of it is simply, and consistently, that good.
Some of my favorite moments last night included performances of “Sympathetic Noose,” “Steal A Ride,” “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo,” “Ain’t No Easy Way,” “Never Known You,” “Shuffle Your Feet,” and of course, “Open Invitation.” As was the case Friday night, B.R.M.C. closed out Saturday night’s set in darkness, connected to the audience via a web of green lasers, with “Open Invitation.” In case you don’t know “Open Invitation,” the lyrics include the lines “Pull me up, on either side. Don’t leave me standing alone in the light. . .” The song in and of itself is beautiful and among my favorites by B.R.M.C, both lyrically and musically. Add to it the intersecting web of laser lights, each beam of light connecting members of the audience with the band and each other, cutting through the darkness and stillness, and the effect you get is that you no longer feel the slightest bit alone. And so my ten year love affair with B.R.M.C. continues.
Robert Levon Been
If you’ve missed them in L.A., you have one more chance to see B.R.M.C. this week and I highly suggest you do. They’ll be returning to the Echoplex for their third performance Sunday night. They’re also continuing on tour around the U.S., so if you live anywhere else in the country, check out their tour dates here.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Even after 10 years, I’m still learning new things about B.R.M.C. which lead me to love them even more. During a visit to their merch booth I purchased some limited edition vinyl and picked up a postcard that explains, in detail, the band’s commitment to responsibly sourcing their merchandise. In an effort to ensure they don’t support child labor in cotton fields around the world, B.R.M.C. has gone out of their way to research and partner with Continental Clothing for all their apparel merchandise. Continental Clothing uses only organic cotton and certifies its products are ethically produced. Looking forward to another decade with B.R.M.C.
Videos from last night’s show:
It gets even better beginning at 3:04 – watch it all the way through.
Oh guys, it’s been WAY too long!! One of my favorite B.R.M.C. memories is when I first heard their debut album, B.R.M.C. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, back in 2000. It may have even been an advance copy, and my colleague and friend, Brigitte, had just added it to the rotation at the office. “WHO is THIS?!” we all asked. “B.R.M.C.” Brigitte would respond as if to say, “Yeah, I know what’s up. . . ” “What’s B.R.M.C.?” we’d beg for as much insight as possible. Brigitte would take a deep breath and then enunciate the words with purpose and precision: “Black. Rebel. Motorcycle. Club.” Their first album was aptly self-titled, and soon, you knew who they were.
Robert Levon Been
My second favorite B.R.M.C. memory is when they played acoustic at The Hotel Cafe several years ago. It was after Howl which came out in 2005, so this was four or five years ago. To this day, that moment remains among my top Hotel Cafe memories. And, as you can see, it’s simultaneously one of my all-time favorite B.R.M.C. memories.
My most favorite B.R.M.C. memory is the show they played at The Echoplex tonight, 10 years after I was initially introduced to them. As stated on their website, “Somewhere between the five full-length albums and a decade-long road test across the highways of the world, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club found their way.”
I’d say B.R.M.C. found their way at the beginning, or knew their way all along. Here’s a band that is exceptionally talented and they could have taken some shortcuts along the way, they could have sold out, they could have given up. Instead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club maintained their art and their integrity and took some risks. I remember when they released Howl and it was a departure from the B.R.M.C. “signature sound” fans became so familiar with. It was during a time when several bands were veering away from the music they had become known for, and without fail, each departure was an absolute disaster. But not B.R.M.C. Howl was a standout album for the band, and a likely bridge to the wider audience that is now among their fans. Howl became yet another proof point of just how talented the band is.
Peter Hayes, Robert Levon Been, and Leah Shapiro were, simply put: fuckin’ great! They played everything from, one of my personal favorites, “Open Invitation” to “Berlin,” “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo,” “Bad Blood,” “White Palms,” “The Toll,” and “Ain’t No Easy Way.” Robert did most of the speaking, which is ironic because one of the first things he said was, “I woke up this morning and had no voice.” You wouldn’t know anybody wasn’t feeling up to par based on their performance. It was one of the tightest shows I’ve seen in recent memory. 10 years ago it was one of the tightest shows I had seen then.
B.R.M.C. stuck it out through the de-evolution of record labels and the dissolution of other bands that began around the same time as they did. B.R.M.C. haven’t compromised a thing, are better than ever, and are now playing 3 sold-out shows at The Echoplex – which gives you 2 more shows to get to. No excuses. See this band.