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
- 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....)
- Sympathetic Noose (Very different than the version on the album as well, but the same basic melody, just louder)
- Gospel Song
- The Line
- Open Invitation
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.