Big, steep slabs of noise. That’s what we want from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Huge fuck-off canyons of feedback drenched sound; so enormous you need crampons and a rope to get over them. And sweet Jesus (And Mary Chain), here tonight, with a gig supporting the charity The Truth Ain’t Sexy, that’s what we got. It was an indication that the volte-face of the last record (Howl) has been repeated, and as your local protractor would tell you, 180 + 180 = 360, and back we head in the direction we were travelling.
The marauding bassline of Berlin, snorting like a bull chasing Juicebox by The Strokes around a car park; the strangely dancable precision of Weapon of Choice (even threatening to break into Stop The Rock by Apollo Four Forty halfway through) with a vitriol spitting chorus, they were cut from the same dark cloth as BRMC’s finest moments, but they were hemmed in a exciting new fashion.
New or old, there was a freeness about the performance; it was the most relaxed BRMC have seemed for a very long time. Not even an inflatable penis could have derailed Whatever Happened To My Rock’n’Roll – a supremely sloppy, sordid, grimy piece of down-tuned brilliance, while the surgery that was performed on Sympathetic Noose was almost life-threatening.
In it came from the campfire, to be set upon by two monks with a shit-load of bad LSD, and a desire to channel the spirit of My Bloody Valentine. It was almost as woozily brilliant as Ain’t No Easy Way, which has now matured into something resembling Blaze Of Glory by Bon Jovi, stuck in a prison bus on the way to Attica; a shiv hidden in its belt, bad intentions in its heart.
It was the kind of performance that made you very glad to have them back. By the time everything was wrapped up with an encore which took in total screw-ups (a couple of false starts to Shuffle Your Feet), a rather beautiful version of Faultline with Peter Hayes solo on guitar and harmonica, and an extended Heart + Soul which descended into crashing squalls of guitar noise, even this most unsmiling of black-clad acts could afford to crack a grin.
Damn right too. Get your motor running, the club are back on the road.