March 11, 2010
The Echoplex, Los Angeles
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.
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.