Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with Mark Gardener at the Metro, 9/20/05

Mark Gardener led off the evening, but honestly I missed most of his set. I showed up for his final five songs. However, I was there for the good parts. For those unaware, Mark Gardener was one of the creative minds behind the influential shoegazer band Ride, of whom I'm a big fan. He played Vapour Trail, an indie classic, and In a Different Place near the end of his set. He's supposed to back in December with a full electric setup (tonight was just him and two other people, no percussion, all acoustic), so it will be interesting to see if he does more Ride stuff.

BRMC came out next, or rather, Peter Hayes came out next. A little background, BRMC's first two albums were fairly straightforward rockers. The self titled first album was critically a mixed bag. Hailed by some as a return to rock and roll, it was criticized somewhat for being a rip-off of any number of bands, including the aforementioned Ride, as well as early Verve (circa A Storm in Heaven), maybe some My Bloody Valentine, and most obviously, the Jesus and Mary Chain. Didn't bother me. I really like all of those bands, so I thought it was a pretty good listen, and it made for a good live set (I saw them for the first time in 2001 when they opened for the Charlatans at the Double Door, so that makes this the fourth time I've seen them). The second album, Take Them On, On Your Own, was more of the same, and got even worse reviews than the first, but again, made for some really great live tracks.

While writing the latest album, Howl, Robert Levon Been (formerly Robert Turner) and Peter Hayes had a falling out with drummer Nick Jago. The result was a number of songs with percussion as an afterthought. The album is slower and quieter, drawing more from Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson than William and Jim Reid. Somewhere along the line, fences were mended, and Jago is back with the band, but there's not much for him to do on a number of songs. Critically, this was a step in the right direction, and honestly, it's growing on me, although initially I didn't care for it as much as the first two, start to finish.

So anyway, Peter Hayes came out solo and did the first couple songs by himself before being joined by Levon Been and Jago for the rest of the set. The set was panned by a few people on the way out. This is probably a weird situation for the band, as the first two albums are clearly more crowd friendly at a rock concert, but I'm sure the band wants to play a lot of the new stuff. Tonight, the band won. In this blog's tradition, the following is a setlist, which should be pretty complete, since the show just ended a few hours ago. The first few songs are in order, then it's a free for all:
  • Devil's Waitin'
  • Fault Line
  • Restless Sinner
  • Weight of the World
  • Shuffle Your Feet
  • Ain't No Easy Way
  • Howl
  • Still Suspicion Holds You Tight
  • Love Burns
  • Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song)
  • White Palms
  • As Sure as the Sun
  • Spread Your Love
  • U.S. Government (a weird version of this, with only the words remotely similar to the veriosn that appears on Take Them On....)
  • Stop
  • Sympathetic Noose (Very different than the version on the album as well, but the same basic melody, just louder)
  • Promise
  • Gospel Song
  • The Line
  • Open Invitation
I think that's it. They played pretty much all of the new album, except for Complicated Situation. Levon Been broke a bass string on one song, which I've never seen before, but it looked cool. Also, his voice clearly wasn't as strong as Hayes'. At first I thought it was the microphones, but you could tell when at one point, the two switched sides. Hayes was terrific all night on vocals, guitar, harmonica (I love it when bands bust out the harmonica live for some reason), and even trombone on Promise near the end.

Personally, the set didn't bother me. While I would have loved to hear more than the just the two songs they played from Take Them On..., and I would have been ecstatic if they'd played Awake, I pretty much figured they'd play a lot from the new album, so I wasn't shocked or disappointed when that's what we got. Definitely worth my $16. And since it was an early show, I was home in time to see the last few innings of the baseball game. Definitely a change for the better from their last show. Two years ago, the show was supposed to start at 10:00. Because an early show ran late, and the band still wanted their full sound check, the doors didn't open until 11:30, and the show didn't start until almost midnight. This meant BRMC opened, and the Stratford Four had to go on second, at about 1:30 am, by which time most of the crowd had cleared out. That's gotta suck.


Anonymous said...

Hey! I saw Interpol at the Greek Theater tonight and didn't get home in time to see the Dodgers fall even farther back in the impressive NL West. Although I did see two guys get in a fight in the parking lot. What are you going to do, stacked parking affects tempers.

Seitz said...

How was the show. I wouldn't mind seeing them in Chicago sometime, but they always seem to play the Aragon, which totally sucks.

Pinko Punko said...

I was just gonna ask you about their new album. My prob is that I am so hooked on Heart+Soul, that I can't get around to listening to the new one. I just feel like I'll want encores of that song, and be disappointed about it. And since it might not be in their live set, I just would be so bummed by the show. Sometimes I get that way, so fixated on one song, that I really get crazy when they don't play it.

On Interpol, used to love them, but can't stand 'em anymore. Their live showm, they were all about their clothes and the kids in the crowd were doing so much faux 80s shit I just couldn't handle it. PLus I fall asleep when I hear any of their new songs. Sigh. I'm a cranky old dude.

Seitz said...

Yeah, that's one of my favorites from that album, too, but they didn't play it. It's like they almost ignored that whole album. Weird, because there's some really good live material there.

Plus, that song is really good coming right on the heels of "Rise or Fall".

Pinko Punko said...

I officially hate Pitchfork's Marc Hogan. He's clearly about 20 years old. It's pretty clear he's writing about stuff that he doesn't have personal experience with, so why doesn't he write about different stuff? he's filling in the blanks. I HATE HIM!! I don't even know Nada Surf really from adam but this is the guy that dropped the Dandy's turd and he just is a terrible terrible writer.

oh, you are on our blogroll. this is your meaningless honor of the day!

Anonymous said...

if you like all that shoegazer shit, then you'll probably like cupie's band The Lassie Foundation. or listen at
they opened up for the New Pornographers when they were in town recently.

Brother Roy said... related stuff. Come and check it out if you get time :-)