Thursday, December 9, 2010

Glasgow@Academy review...

SINGER Peter Hayes stands silhouetted against a few dazzling lights but otherwise enveloped in darkness, his face shrouded by his hoodie… in this part of the world comparisons to The Jesus and Mary Chain are obligatory for the moody Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Diabolic opener 666 Conducer restated their current priorities – tiresome posturing over meaningful lyrics and the more memorable melodies of the band's most accomplished album Howl. Scarcely acknowledging the audience for the first hour of the gig, the solemn, down-tempo aspects of their repertoire were enlivened by room-rattling, visceral rock with growls of Delta blues swagger – you could almost forgive their affectations while admiring the sheer wall of sound produced by a mere trio.

Hayes and bassist Robert Levon Been traded and shared vocals while drummer Leah Shapiro added a high edge occasionally, as on the ambling The Toll. Part of an extended acoustic set that also featured a cover of Dirty Old Town and the spectral Mercy, this and occasional keyboards and swampy harmonica afforded texture and variety to a gig that otherwise lacked them.

Stormers like War Machine, staggering and bellowing with distortion, were urgently needed to re-energize the room. Berlin might be saddled with a frankly ridiculous chorus but it retains a defiantly erotic charge and crowd favourite Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll (Punk Song) was a reminder of of the sneering frenzy of noise that established this band's reputation.