The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

The Californian outfit prove why they remain one of the safest bets in hard rock with an epic set at The Ritz

By

24th March 2013

The Ritz

8/10

A decade on since their inception, distilling seven albums worth of eclectic influences, BRMC appear to have settled as they churn out their most satisfying album to date, Specter at the Feast. These Californian sluggers of heavy rock ‘n’ roll are often quoted as being a ‘garage rock band’ or other dreary synonyms, but tonight they played at a venue a far cry from any garage, one that needs no introduction – The Ritz.

The atmosphere was one heavy with a contagious expectation. From behind a smokescreen of frosted mist and glaring strobe lighting the band emerged prompting rapturous applause from the audience. BRMC are named after a motorcycle gang in Marlon Brando’s 1953 cult-classic The Wild One. None of this rebellious persona is spared as the band is seamless in their selections of leather and black denim clothing – a style emulated by the more avid followers among the crowd.

Characteristically, BRMC prefer not to announce their presence too energetically, instead they opt for one of the more tender slow-burning numbers, ‘Fire Walker’ from the latest album. The fast paced ‘Rival’ evokes frenzied scenes as the audience is literally bouncing on the dance floor as over-priced lager issues from plastic cups, exploding onto the crowd like a Carlsberg firework. Effortlessly, frontman Been teases out the challenging punk-inspired rifts of ‘Red Eyes and Tears’ and ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll’, before easing into the country blues/neo psychedelic melodies of ‘Ain’t No Easy Way Out’ with his co-frontman Heyes, who all the while is playing the harmonica. Multi-instrumentalist Heyes is later handed the floor to soak up the limelight with his own distinct brand of melancholic acoustic blues-rock with time for two songs, ‘Fault Line’ and ‘Complicated Situation’.

As the band whittled through their two-hour long set, encompassing 24 tracks, ‘666 Conducer’ and ‘Love Burns’ produced enthusiastic chanting of “BRMC! BRMC!” from the Mancunian quarters of the audience who appreciated the Britpop inspired influences it contained. Aside from Britpop, the bands’ religious doctrine also influences their music, typified by ‘White Palm’ that was laden with Christian motifs.  Perhaps a stifling set to sit through for the less-than-avid fan, but when it comes to moody riff-driven rock ‘n’ roll, BRMC corner the market.