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Live Review
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - SFBH - Wellington

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club SFBH Wellington

Event Info

July 24 2010
The San Francisco Bath House, Wellington

Reviewed By
Ryan Eyers
26th July 2010


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
San Francisco Bath House, Wellington
Saturday 24th July 2010

Bad-ass. 1. adjective. Having extremely favorable qualities 2. adjective. Pertaining to a person or thing that is rugged, strong, and/or ready to show these qualities. E.g. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Swinging in to Wellington for part two of their whirlwind three-day NZ tour – their first visit in seven years – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club delivered a crunching, expertly-delivered set to one of the Bath House’s more diversely-aged crowds.

Playing songs from a discography ranging from their classic 2001 debut B.R.M.C through to the recently-released Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, the band got stuck into their work early, developing a strong atmosphere and dark feel that permeated their entire set. Mixing immensely thick and distorted bass grooves with lingering bluesy guitar licks and relentless, pounding drums, they created their trademark blues/garage rock revival sound with an intensity and strength that belied their pared-back set-up.

Despite it reportedly being only their second show in two months, the well-oiled trio delivered their songs with a sharpness and effortless swagger that elevates them over the many other bands that have worked in similar territory. While their sound is unlikely to win any originality awards and has remained steadily-consistent over their career, this works to BRMC’s advantage, allowing them to craft a live experience that entertains and intoxicates in equal measure, evidenced by a sold-out crowd largely rooted to the spot, enthralled by the delivery of stripped-back rock’n’roll done right.

Exuding a menacing cool that many other frontmen would kill for, lead singer and bassist Robert Levon Been wielded his bass like a weapon, thrusting at the audience as he squeezed every possible decibel of distorted goodness from its frame. Vocally, he delivered with the same intensity, often piercing through the haze with his distinctive, throaty tone, and also displayed his more tender side with one of the night’s highlights, an emotionally-wrought cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Visions of Johanna’. Despite battling with laryngitis, guitarist and occasional-harmonicist Peter Hayes provided the cream on top with shimmering waves of guitar and driving riffs while drummer Leah Shapiro was a force behind the kit, anchoring the set with a thumping beat and giving the crowd something to keep their foot stomping in time to. While the $73 price tag was probably a little steep for the average concert-goer, BRMC fans were treated to a class act of pure rock’n’roll badassery by a band that knows its strengths and knows how to deliver them damn well. Marlon Brando, eat your heart out.

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