The Hype: After selling out three nights at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club visited the House of Blues Anaheim in support of their new album, Beat The Devil's Tattoo. Boasting such song titles as “River Styx,” “Conscience Killer” and “Bad Blood,” BRMC match the menacing names with haunting melodies and much bleakness.
The Show: A dimly lit stage punctuated by strobe lights and shadows perfectly suited the light and darkness of a BRMC show. The gears of “War Machine” slowly churned as Robert Levon Been almost tore the strings off his bass by bending them heavily for the intoxicating intro riff. Peter Hayes was the epitome of cool while smoking his cigarette and conjuring clouds of distortion from his guitar to fill in the gaps.
Leah Shapiro quickly slammed her floor tom for the opening beat of “Mama Taught Me Better” as Been continued to attack his bass and coolly handle vocal duties occasionally clutching the microphone with one hand to emphasize certain lyrics. “Whatever Happened to My Rock 'N' Roll (Punk Song)” found Hayes playfully approaching the front of the stage and harass the photographers in the pit to the enjoyment of the fans in the front row.
BRMC didn't relent as they thrilled the crowd with knockout renditions of “Stop” and “Shade of Blue.” The newer songs seamlessly blended with the old material as “Bad Blood” had Hayes and Been trading vocals. During “Aya,” Been employed an interesting technique of detuning his bass for the verses which is something you don't often encounter. “Berlin” was a straight rock assault as both Hayes and Been used guitars while Shapiro meticulously pounded away on her drum kit.
Giving the audience a minor rest, Been took to the piano for the quiet “Annabel Lee.” “Ain't No Easy Way” continued to rock the crowd as Hayes was killing it on the harmonica. Prior to “Sympathetic Noose,” Been commented that it was the most people he has seen in the venue as they previously played a poorly attended corporate event there. “Evol” slowly burned itself into your conscience as Hayes kept repeating the lyrics of “Feels Like Love Again”.
“Six Barrel Shotgun” devastated with its bass breakdown. “Beat The Devil's Tattoo” took a literal meeting as Been beat his guitar to instigate the crowd to clap. Unfortunately, they skipped “Red Eyes and Tears,” which was on the set list, but replaced it with “Rifles.” “Shadow's Keeper” was a perfect choice for an encore with its encapsulating sound that devoured the audience one last time. My only complaint is that they didn't schedule more nights at the House of Blues Anaheim. I think everyone in attendance would have probably returned for a second helping,
The Veils, by the way of London opened with a criminally brief five song set. Clocking in close to twenty five minutes, Finn Andrews and company worked through a passionate set that included “Larkspur,” 'Not Yet,” “Calliope!” “Nux Vomica” and “Three Sisters”.
The Crowd: Lots of females lined the front barricade which isn't surprising given that both Hayes and Been wear black leather jackets and ooze rock & roll.
Overheard: People talking during the acoustic songs. C'mon people. Shut up. Seriously.