Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It Happened Last Night: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Mao Livehouse, 9/13/11

by danielshap | Posted on Sep 14 2011 |

Two nights after making their China debut at Beijing’s InterCity Music Festival, Los Angeles rock trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club stopped by Shanghai’s Mao Livehouse to hit local rock fans off with a heavy dose of their droney psychedelic tunes, masterfully exhibiting their lackadaisical slacker anthems for a packed house.

While many foreign bands often choose to serve Shanghai audiences watered-down, lackluster sets that reek of jet lag and air pollution-induced allergies, B.R.M.C. rifled their way through 110-plus minutes of spacey indie rock, striking gold with album-quality versions of “Love Burns,” “Whatever Happen to my Rock & Roll” and “Spread Your Love,” all from their 2001 self-titled debut.

After a barn-storming rendition of “Berlin,” from 2007’s Baby 81, co-frontmen Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been, joined by drummer Leah Shapiro, who has been with the LA outfit since 2008, dabbled in a bit of Americana, breaking out “Shuffle Your Feet” and “Ain’t No Easy Way” from 2005’s vastly-underrated Howl, Been trading in his signature Epiphone Rivoli bass for six strings and a Delta blues-worthy slide.

Luring the crowd into their stoney, smoke-filled lair of delayed guitars and distorted, rolling bass lines, the Black Rebels delivered a hypnotic, trance-y version “Red Eyes and Tears,” complete with an alternate live ending, before blowing the roof off the building with the more muscular “Six Barrel Shotgun” from 2003’s Take Them On, On Your Own.

Briefly recessing after a 10-track, 72-minute set, Been returned to the stage for a solo cover of Bob Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna,” Hayes and Shapiro then joining in for the slowdive “White Palms” (s/t), the sing-a-long worthy “Weight of the World” (Howl) and the uber-psychedelic “Awake,” bringing their epic 45-minute encore, and one of Shanghai’s live music highlights of 2011, to a close.

watch B.R.M.C. perform "Red Eyes and Tears" (vpn required)