Black Rebel Motorcycle Club : Boston Avalon Ballroom

Yes, it's serious, but that doesn't have to mean gloom, or angst, or an adrenalin by-pass...

OK, so maybe you could argue that it’s not
quite perfect. There’s no in-house

reclining leather seats. No between-set stand-up

from Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce. No Meaning Of

Life-Or-Your-Money-Back finale. In the sane world,

however, it’s hard to conceive of a bill that makes

better sense than this US pairing of Spiritualized and
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. While Jason Pierce and his

stripped-down band are still floating gloriously in

space, currently on the kind of soul-splitting form

that must render that whole “act of God” clause on their

insurance forms utterly redundant, their tough young West

Coast step-cousins are right here, down on the ground,

up to their elbows in black-gold rock’n’roll.

It probably goes without saying that BRMC aren’t satisified with

tonight’s show. They think it was “weird”, that the sound was wrong,

that somehow it just didn’t gel. The view from the audience, however, is

altogether different: peer over the heads mouthing the words and

grinning in a told-you-so fashion at newly converted friends and you see

a band on a fierce upward trajectory. Anyone who saw BRMC in the UK at

the beginning of the year will be aware of the band’s discomfort at

being forced to tour without visa-hampered drummer Nick Jago.

They were still fine shows, but seeing all three of them play together

Here, you can feel the difference, the rightness of it all. Happily,

that rightness is sure to be maintained for their imminent

British tour. Not only is there an instinctive attitude on display –

you could dress them in white linen suits and pith helmets

and they’d still look like a band – there’s

an instinctive understanding of what their music can mean.

It’s serious stuff – the low, sinful thunder of ‘White Palms’ intoned

with self-flagellating fervour by Peter Hayes, the superb vitriol of B-

side ‘Failsafe’, the looming obsession of ‘Love Burns’ – yet they’re not

afraid of the beautiful dumbness of the “one two three wooooh!” that

bassist Robert Turner uses to kickstart ‘Whatever Happened To My

Rock’n’Roll? (Punk Song)’ or the tarty, fuzz-caked bassline that

shimmies voluptuously through ‘Spread Your Love’.

Yes, it’s serious, but that doesn’t have to mean gloom, or angst, or

an adrenalin by-pass. As BRMC so thrillingly show, there’s more to the

dark than that.

Victoria Segal