In one of their hit songs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club answers their own question. They ask, “Whatever happened to my rock and roll?”
This is a valid question when discussing today’s underground music. We are surrounded by electronic beats and soft folksy tunes today but when searching for raw rock and roll, listeners are forced to look to the past.
At BRMC’s Tuesday performance at the House of Blues Anaheim, they answered their question with their loud guitar and heavy drums and said, “Rock and Roll is right here.”
This was apparent in the audience. While waiting for the band to start, I was surrounded by mostly men aged 50+. Some were singing along to the Iggy Pop playing in the background, probably reminiscing about when they saw The Stooges when they were my age. Of course BRMC would have an older audience; they have the same no-nonsense raw rock that The Stooges and their contemporaries have.
The band walked out on stage without saying a word, and jumped right into their music. The first thing I noticed was their new drummer, Leah Shapiro. Her heavy drums stood out in the third song of the evening, “Stop” and “Berlin.”
The first half of their set was filled with waves of fast songs to slow songs, then slowed down signifigantly mid-set. This brought the best part of the evening.
Robert sat at the piano under the spotlight and played a most beautiful rendition of the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Annabelle Lee”. It was haunting, it was gorgeous, just like Poe wrote it. A faithful tribute.
The mood was stopped abruptly by the sharp harmonica intro of “Ain’t No Easy Way”, and continued to step up the pace with “Spread Your Love.”
Peter Hayes brought you back down again with his great acoustic solo of “Sympathetic Noose.”
The title track off their new album “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” was another stand out song.
They played three encore songs, and ended with “Open Invitation”, one of their slower, sad songs. They let us down gently, and walked away just as silent as they entered,
I heard an audience member asked as I was walked away, “Why would they end with that song?”
You can’t expect anything else from a band of rebels.