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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Rock City Nottingham 30.06.15

Tonight’s gig at Rock City was a warm one, what with temperatures reaching the mids 30’s all week, I was unsure that I could cope with it, but thankfully the air conditioning works perfectly fine at this venue so it was pretty comfortable for all in attendance and there were a few here tonight, which was great to see – especially for a mid week gig.

Speaking of unclear, I was just that about shooting this gig, as I know BRMC are somewhat of a niche market when it comes to their music, but it was for that reason I decided to go. I feel this band are slightly under appreciated when it comes to their musical abilities which needs to addressed, I’ve loved this bands music for years, they just need a few more top 40 hits, as Slash has pointed out this week, if you’re not in the top 40, you ain’t got a shot!

Tonight Rock City didn’t open their doors until 7pm so as the crowds got larger, it became harder to find shade. Taking cover from the sun is a necessity when you consider 90% of music fans generally wear black T-shirts!

Tonight’s support came from one former member of The Libertines, a post punk indie band from the early 2000’s era. Sadly, most will only remember lead singer Pete Doherty, but the rest of the band were in fact very talented and accomplished musicians! Thankfully, they saw sense and went on to do over things. Carl Barât did just that, a guitarist and vocalist who spent a number of years trying to apply his craft within other bands, such as Dirty Little Things and The Chav’s, sadly both of these bands had very little success. Deflated with band culture, he decided to go it alone but bring in talented musicians to accompany him on his new quest, calling them the Jackals. Kinda the same thing as being in a band then but this time he’s calling the shots, the rest choose to follow if they wish or summat like that!

Carl Barat and The Jackals

After speaking with several punters I knew in attendance tonight, I discovered that Carl Barat and the Jackals had in fact played a secret set at Glastonbury Festival the weekend just gone, then played Manchester last night and Nottingham tonight before they head off to Europe with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Carl Barat

Despite the antics of the previous few days, Carl and co. seemingly had plenty of energy left in the tank and they used that to great effect tonight. To give you an indication of how good the air conditioning system is at this venue, each member of the band were wearing their leather jackets, (as you do in a rock/metal band) yet barely broke into a sweat…brrr. As for the music, Carl and the Jackals have continued along the brit pot, indie, post punk road, as far as their style goes, which may be having a bit of a revival from what I saw of the bands playing the uber commercial Glastonbury Festival, but for me, I wasn’t moved emotionally as it’s all been done before. As for the bands ability, I thought they were great and certainly got the crowd lively for the main act.

Adam Claxton

Set List: 1. Victory Gin 2. A Storm Is Coming 3. Gin & Milk 4. Summer In The Trenches 5. We Want More 6. March of the Idle 7. Glory Days 8. The Gears 9.War of the Roses.

Did you know Black Rebel Motorcycle Club use to call themselves The Elements, but quickly ditched it because of the number of other bands that had a similar title? Instead they settled for their current title thanks to the Marlon Brando film ‘The Wild One’! Having formed back in 1998, these guys and now girl, were primarily active in the early part of 2000, so they must be friends with Carl Barat from their time in the charts, gig circuit and festivals back in that day, hence his support slot?

I always knew this band to be an all male 3 piece, however, it turns out Nick Jago left the band after the release of the album ‘Baby 81’s’ (2007) – I must keep on top of all these band changes more! So I was shocked to see a female on the kit tonight, one Leah Shapiro who apparently underwent a brain operation earlier this year, thankfully it was a success so kudos to her for being back up their playing so soon! The band are primarily Rock and Roll, but they have experimented with their sound over the years, but always seem to come back to the heavier guitar sounds their fans love them for. With only being a three piece, you’d be forgiven if you thought their sound would be lacking in depth and texture, but that isn’t the case as they manage, superbly I might say, to conjure up very emotional tracks that are dark and sinister in feel.

Leah Shapiro

Founding member Peter Hayes plays an array of stringed instruments as well as being the bands primary vocalist, but when he plays the bass, you soon know about it. Where he lacks in strings (4 to be precise) he makes up for with pure heavy bass riffs, which tonight made my rib cage vibrate! Other founding member Robert Levon Been, Peter’s best friend, is charged with playing the electric guitar, who also takes up vocal duties. It’s worth mentioning Been comes from a musical background, as his late, great father used to be the vocalist/guitarist for the band “The Call”. between them, they manage to conjure up a magical array of sounds and imagery for our entertainment. Although the lighting for tonights gig was a challenge to photograph in, it did fit the bands mood perfectly. It was safe to say the crowd appreciated every effort made, as they were jumping tonight, quite literally! Thankfully, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played some of my personal favourite tracks tonight!

Robert Levon Been

With only two UK dates being played on this current tour, I was actually very relieved that I went along to this tonight as this is a band that sits too far under the radar these days, they need more exposure for sure, as they are a great live act!

Peter Hayes

Set List: 1. Beat the Devil’s Tattoo 2. Let the Day Begin 3. Rival 4. Weapon of Choice 5. Rifles 6. Ain’t No Easy Way 7. Berlin 8. Returning 9. American X 10. Salvation 11. Heart + Soul 12. Complicated Situation [Acoustic] 13. Love Burns [Acoustic] 14. Weight of the World 15. Conscience Killer 16. Stop 17. Awake 18. Spread Your Love 19. Shuffle Your Feet 20. White Palms 21. Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song)

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)