BRMC brought showmanship, and the rock, to First Avenue


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / First Avenue / May 22, 2007 Text by Andrea Myers | Photos by Daniel Corrigan

It began plain and simple: flashing lights, cool-boy good looks and a great big ironic skull and crossbones banner accompanied a set of oddly terse, two-minute Britpop tunes. But by the half-way point, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club had just about convinced the crowd that they could, in fact, rock our faces off.

It took some time to wind into a fully rocking leather jacket groove, but BRMC finally ramped up into a great, building crescendo of rock and roll around the 45-minute mark of their two-hour set. The single "Weapon of Choice" off their latest album, Baby 81, marked a turning point in the band's lengthy performance, and it was at this point that the band took the bored twenty-something crowd out of the peripheries and placed them gently into the palm of their hand.

"I won't be fooled by the light/I won't be fooled by the lie," lead singer Peter Hayes crooned on "Killing the Light," and it seemed to direct the crowd on how to best enjoy the performance. As white floodlight overtook the stage and quickly snapped off into blackness, it was easy to get caught up in the impressive light show and stage stupefaction. But, beyond the tricky showmanship, was a band playing their asses off, and the show was a spectacle almost in spite of their efforts to appear commandeering.

A two-song acoustic break, featuring "Rising Tide" and "Devil's Waitin'" with Hayes alone on guitar, brought the show to a surprisingly mellow climax before the band launched into a set of stretched-out, jammy versions of some of the older favorite BRMC songs. From start to finish, BRMC somehow transitioned from a hipster pop band cranking out radio hits to a more mature, dynamic, blues-based rock band, and by night's end they had the sold-out crowd screaming for more.

Text by Andrea Myers | Photos by Daniel Corrigan