Saturday, June 02, 2007

BRMC Kills Philly

Saw Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the TLA in Philly last night, and they were outstanding. The main set drew on all four of their studio albums, and included a little interlude where singers Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes traded acoustic numbers. The band left the stage after a killer set, and then returned for an encore that actually felt off-the-cuff.

As an aside, I feel like I have to say that, generally, encores are totally lame. Bands feign leaving the stage when they know for damn sure they're coming back to play another hit or two after they wait for their fans to "draw them back to the stage" with raucous applause. I've been to some shows where the fans hardly put any effort into the encore facade and the band came back out anyway because they still hadn't played the "big single" or some other song that remained on their setlist. It's become a cliche of a cliche, to the point where bands will even acknowledge that they're only pretending to leave the stage for a moment before coming back to play another couple of songs. What's the point?! Just play the songs and then leave on a high note.

BRMC may have planned on coming out again after they finish their long main set, but their encore certainly didn't seem contrived at all. Hell, the engineers had even turned on the PA and the lights after their main set. When they returned they asked the light tech to keep the house lights up so they could see everyone. Then they started taking requests and played four more tunes before leaving their exhausted fans happily sated after 2+ hours of rock. As my friend noted during the encore, it felt like we were catching a college show in a tiny venue, where band and audience almost merge. Great stuff.

Specific highlights for me included the acoustic b-side "Mercy", a really heavy version of "Sympathetic Noose", rollicking versions of "Ain't No Easy Way", "Love Burns" and "American X", and the phenomenal set closer, "All You Do Is Talk". The latter two are the centerpieces of BRMC's new record, Baby 81, and are absolutely essential listens. Here's the full main set, plus the sweet, sweet encore.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Theater Of Living Arts

Took Out A Loan
Lien On Your Dreams
In Like The Rose
Ain't No Easy Way
Weapon Of Choice
Whatever Happened To My Rock N' Roll
Not What You Wanted
666 Conducer
Need Some Air
American X
Fault Line (acoustic)
Complicated Situation (acoustic)
Mercy (acoustic)
Love Burns
All You Do Is Talk
Six Barrel Shotgun
Sympathetic Noose
Spread Your Love
Shuffle Your Feet
I don't have a recording of this show yet, but here's a little live acoustic BRMC session that Peter did for MPR recently.
MPR Acoustic Session

Not What You Wanted
Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

Download the set here.
Buy BRMC's music here.

CREDITS: The photos above were taken at the show by Corwin Wickersham.



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