Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are well loved in Yorkshire, not least for the infamous time they ‘broke the floor’ at Leeds City Hall. It’s been a long time since their self-styled LP introduced us to a blend of psychedelic, garage and stoner rock. Since then, they’ve taken on many forms. This is reflected in an enjoyable but uneven set.
A series of slow-burners open the set – ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo’ and ‘Love Burns’ ramp up to ‘Conscience Killer’. Forward momentum builds through the snarl of Robert Levon Been and the absolutely filthy bass and guitar sound. It’s a testament to their mixing team and their own technical nouse that Been can be heard at all over the fuzzed out guitars.
However the set noticeably sags in the middle – with several slow songs played alongside one another. Add to this two acoustic songs, sung by different members of the band, and it speaks to a poorly sequenced evening.
By the time the huge rumbling bass of ‘Spread Your Love’ and thundering riffs of ‘Six Barrel Shotgun’ and ‘Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll’ incite the mosh pit the crowd have waited all night for, it’s clear what could have been if the tempo had been upheld.
In the end BRMC still put on a hell of a show, and remain one of the few touring rock bands who aren’t above slinging a drink into the front rows. With some tightening up, and better placement of the slower material, this could have been a riotous night.
As it is, the San Fran trio can put on a very good rock show – but they should play to their strengths.