The hottest night of the year needed a cool band. And we got one of the coolest of them all.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Peter Hayes, Robert Levon Been and Leah Shapiro – took over the O2 Kentish Town Forum, and shook the building to its foundations with pure, unadulterated rock music.
Opening song of the night was ‘Spook’, from the ‘Wrong Creatures’ album – the most featured album of the night – with Hayes looking the part with slicked back hair and growling vocals. Robert Levon Been then takes over vocal duties with two more from ‘Wrong Creatures’, ‘Little Thing Gone Wild’ and ‘King Of Bones’, before he and the band coolly treat us all to ‘Beat The Devils Tattoo’.
Hayes then returns to vocal action, complete with harmonica and acoustic guitar, for ‘Ain’t No Easy Way Out’, from the 2005 album, ‘Howl’. The band then showcase a couple of numbers from Baby 81, the cool rock groove of ‘Berlin’, and the raucous, ‘Conscience Killer’, with Shapiro hitting the drums with precise aggression.
‘Stop’ gets a run out, with Levon Been curving his way around the vocals, before a quick swap of instruments, and sides, between the two guitarists beckon another double from the new album, ‘Haunt’ and ‘Question Of Faith’. And after another swap of instruments and sides, ‘Circus Bazooko’ gets an airing after an absence of a year.
The first visit to the debut album follows in earnest with ‘Rifles’, before another number from the new album arrives in the form of ‘Carried From The Start’, as the temperature in the venue gets ever hotter. A well earned breather for Shapiro and Levon Been comes not a moment too soon, as Hayes treats the capacity crowd to a solo version of ‘Shuffle Your Feet’, before Levon Been does his own solo song, ‘Echo’.
The band regroup as a trio as they take on ‘All Rise’, before early numbers, ‘In Like The Rose’ and ‘White Palms’, get given a welcome run out. Another early song, and a somewhat unsurprising song on the set given recent political issues, ‘U.S Government’ is met with crowd approval, with Levon Been proclaiming, “Fuck the CIA!”.
Follow that with a heavy, heavy version of ‘Six Barrel Shotgun’, before the anthem (well, one of them) everybody has been waiting for comes along in the shape of ‘Spread Your Love’. Two hours into the show and the band return for their encore, starting with ‘666 Conducer’, before the last of the new album showcases comes in ‘Ninth Configuration’. The show then comes to the loudest end possible with the finale, ‘Whatever Happened To My Rock n Roll’.
You certainly get what you pay for with BRMC and, even with the soaring temperatures inside and outside the venue, the crowd went home happy after watching one of the coolest bands around. Whatever happened to my rock n roll? Black Rebel Motorcycle Club make sure that it sticks around for a long time.