Sunday, May 9, 2010 Leeds review...

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Academy, Leeds

As musical trends come and go, the continued survival of BRMC is a curveball. The San Franciscan band haven't had a hit for years and hardly generate media interest, yet are playing larger venues than ever and continue to attract younger fans. Delivering a two-hour set for just over £15 in these cash-hungry times seems almost revolutionary socialism, and a sense that BRMC are outsiders is crucial to their appeal to audiences who share the band's love of everything black. If you want to don a leather jacket, turn the collar up and sneer at the world, this is your music.

Their show hasn't changed much since they emerged at the start of the decade: everything is still black, bathed in dry ice or dazzled by strobes. Their detractors claim their music similarly changes less than the colour of their underpants, and while it's hard to review them without using the words "Jesus and Mary Chain", their sound has developed to make everything from bruised acoustic blues to T Rex's joyous glam-stomp sound black and brooding.

Some of the "rebellion" implied by their name is almost comically minor: Robert Been's schoolboy flouting of the smoking ban while the bouffant-haired Peter Hayes glares malevolently at, er, the lighting technician. And yet, it's hard to deny the insurrectionist buzz of their best tunes. Whether they have enough of them to fill such a long set is debatable. Still, Spread Your Love gets everybody singing and Weapon of Choice sounds glorious. "Let's go fucking mental", chants Hayes before a riotous-sounding Whatever Happened to My Rock'n'Roll, and on cue mayhem erupts in front of the stage.

At Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton (0870 320 7000), tonight.

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