As much as I enjoyed last night’s intimate acoustic show, this is how BRMC is supposed to be seen.
In fact, they far exceeded my expectations. They were truly electric; letting their usual stoic, all-about-the-sound stage presence give way to a wild, impassioned performance for an audience hungry for some real rock ‘n roll.
They started off very strong, blasting us with 666 Conducer, followed by Berlin and Weapon of Choice. The front area- mostly females- were quickly frothed up into a frenzy, except for the strangely serene front row. I’m surprised some of the girls a few rows back didn’t try to jump on stage. Between Peter’s cigarette laden swagger and Robert’s frequent blurring of the audience/stage boundary, the guys oozed as much sex appeal as Mitchell Brothers on the corner wishes it could. Nothing about these guys is over the top; it’s all carefully controlled, equally shared, subtle rockstardom.
The audience was screaming out requests. Robert seemed to combat this by putting on his hood for several songs, and Peter’s out of control hair kept him from making eye contact with anyone. I fucking loved that his hair was wild and messy for this set compared to the straight slick ‘do you often see him with. So metaphorical.
Anyways, the crowd barely existed to them. They were there to rock, and nothing more. Standing and playing conveyed so much more personality than last night’s seated performance, as Peter rock ‘n roll slow danced around the stage with his guitar, and Robert twitched frenetically every so often.
Even with last night’s show, the middle part of the electric set had Peter and Robert each performing a few acoustic songs. It was great to see Peter from this side of the stage- so much soul there. Robert took a few moments to remember how to play Chelsea Hotel, which was pretty funny. He also played a new song, The Absent.
The duo switched sides more often than I had seen before, which was great for the audience. I loved my spot by the speaker, where I could dance with a clear view of both of them, but my ears are hating me for it today. With a name like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, it has to be loud.
At one point, during American X, I thought Robert was going to peg a very still fan in the front row with the neck of his guitar. He proceeded to get in front of the mic and play in front of this girl’s face, almost begging for a reaction. I don’t know if she was scared or bored or what, but she didn’t move a muscle. His gesture was left unreciprocated.
The encore came too soon. There was minimal talking, all done by Robert, telling the crowd thanks and that they were from the area. During Punk Song, something happened to Robert’s mic as he tried to bring it to the front, and I saw him say, “fucking bullshit” as a tech fiddled with it. The strobes were working on overdrive, and smoke drifted around the room asSpread Your Love ended our evening.
I really wanted to hear Love Burns, but I guess the set couldn’t be entirely perfect.
Weapon of Choice
Ain’t No Easy Way
Killing the Light
Heart & Soul
Chelsea Hotel (cover)
Shuffle Your Feet
All You Do Is Talk
Took Out A Loan
Steal A Ride
Spread Your Love
BRMC performance: 9.5/10
Diciembre Gris performance: 4/10 (their haphazard lyrics turned me off enough to not give them any words)
venue (Great American Music Hall): 9/10
value ($25/ticket): 9/10
Nice Henry Rollins Show interview: