Friday, December 28, 2012

LA MusicBlog @ The Troubadour

December 27th, 2012
Angelica Corona


Stepping into the Troubadour two minutes prior to set time Friday night, I inhaled copious amounts of fog machine air, felt a significant increase in warmth, and settled in to wait in anticipation with the rest of the audience. The stage, dimly lit with blue and purple hues, was already prepped with a guitar technician waiting in each wing. I had battled heavy traffic, packed parking lots, and non-respondant ATM machines to get here, and the exhaustion was enough to make my 16-hour workday feel greater than the performance to come — or so I thought.


I hadn’t heard too much about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in a while. I first learned about the San Francisco-turned-Los Angeles group in 2005 when I heard “Mercy” in a Holiday Hangover sampler I just so happened to pick up on a whim. I quickly familiarized myself with previous and current material from the rockers, and before I knew it, I was in love. Since the release of Beat The Devil’s Tattoo almost three years ago, though, I’ve only had their latest special edition vinyl to keep me going. That being said, when I saw that the band was playing at my absolute favorite venue in support of their recent announcement of a new album, I was determined to see the show. I wouldn’t miss it.


When they took the stage, the audience erupted with applause. Not wasting any time, the now-trio delved right into a cover of The Call‘s “Let The Day Begin,” a tribute to Robert Levon Been’s father. Right after, they reaffirmed their announcement of new material with “Funny Games.” Consistent with previous releases, the new track featured the same hammering and pulling acoustics jam-packed with energy and resounding vocals that exemplify the idea that, though few on stage, BRMC is great in sound. Their raw, electric strings and the kind of bass that caused drink glasses to slide off the stage and shatter in silence, drowned out by Leah Shapiro’s drumming, had the audience nodding, dancing, swaying, and stomping to the infectious beat.


It’s rare that my personal highlights come so early in a set, but “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” was meant to be played loudly and on stage. The seductive intro and steady pulse of the album-leading song infused the crowd, which by this point was throbbing with energy, and ultimately set the tone for the night. “We’ve fucked you over before, Los Angeles,” Robert Levon Been said mid-set, admitting to skipping over their hometown on previous tours, before expressing the band’s happiness to be able to play a good show in LA with a great audience open to hearing new music. Shortly after, another new track, “Lullaby,” filled the speakers and consumed the room, slowing the pace of the evening momentarily before the band quickly resumed a faster stride with “Ain’t No Easy Way.”


The break in material and performances from BRMC made the show that much better. The band hasn’t skipped a beat, and their return is invaluable to the world of rock n’ roll. Unique vocals by Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been set their sound apart from redundancy while they master the art of sultry, raucous grunge. Welcome back guys — stay a while, won’t you?



Last Night On Earth with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Troubadour (12/21/12)

Robert Levon Been
Photo by Arminé Iknadossian

Waiting in line in the chill of late December, I got to talking to a couple of fans of the inimitable band who I have been championing for a few years now. One of the fans, Mel, happened to mention a review she read about the band’s San Francisco show at Slim’s on Wednesday, the one I attended before flying back to LA to make the gig tonight. Mr. Matthew Green of SF Gate, though impressed with B.R.M.C.’s sound and musicianship, was disappointed with their lack of audience engagement, as he called it. They seemed like a “shadow” of themselves and were too short on banter, for his taste, barely acknowledging their admiring fans. What is ironic about this review is that it is hard to find a band these days that is more accommodating, friendly and respectful of their fan base than B.R.M.C.

What Mr. Green is clearly ignorant of is the fact that the band members frequently perform impromptu acoustic sets for fans before and after shows. Tonight, I, along with a small group of post-show lingerers, have the pleasure of enjoying bassist Robert Levon Been serenade Jodi Lee Haddon, the most loyal fan they have. It is silly to call Jodi a fan. By now, she is more like family.

After the gig, Been emerges from backstage, grabs an acoustic guitar and sits on the stage, calls Jodi over and, with a shy smile, says, “I’m going to serenade you.” Fans crowd around him with cameras and phones at the ready as he giggles and stumbles through some holiday standards followed by “Sympathetic Noose” (what a metaphor) and ends with the heartfelt song, “Returning,” off their new album, due out in March 2013.

The enchantment in the room is palpable, as fans, new and old, marvel at the unassuming Been’s earnest attempt to do something special for Jodi. Thoroughly embarrassed by the attention, Jodi sits on the floor as do a few others, smiling up at Been, occasionally laughing with the crowd when he forgets the lyrics to “Jingle Bells”.

Behind him, the crew dismantles the stage and packs up gear as the venue gets ready to shut down. Business as usual. But for the fans who travelled from Japan, Argentina, New York and Texas, this is a golden moment, when the rock star sheds his stage persona, likened to a lion in a cage, to sit down and mess around on the guitar for us. That is what Mr. Green missed. No harm though. Such half-hearted reviews will not put a dent in the ticket sales. All three club shows this week were sold out. The Troubadour show sold out in 30 minutes.

At the Wednesday night show at Slim’s, I stood in front of Peter Hayes on the right side of the stage and could barely hear Been’s lyrics, so tonight at The Troubadour, I choose a spot in the middle instead, directly in front of the drum kit. The sound at The Troubadour is solid. The band opens with The Call’s “Let the Day Begin,” written by Been’s father, Michael, and they succeed in making this song, written in the 80s, something uniquely B.R.M.C. with the drone and distortion fitting their style.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Photo by Debi Del Grande

Following the tribute, the band charges through song after song, as they do. No time wasted. One song immediately leads into the next, switching from hard-driving songs like “Conscience Killer” and “Six Barrel Shotgun” to stomp-happy favorites “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” and “Ain’t No Easy Way” which gets the crowd clapping along. In the middle of the set, the celestial “Awake” sent minds and hearts into a nether-journey of lilting guitar and spiritual lyrics. The chorus is a self-reflective admission of what it is like to truly awaken from the harsh realities of mortal consciousness. “I’ve lost my ground, now I’m gaining soul,” Hayes sings. As the guitar winds through the last verse, reaching for the heavens, then falling back to earth, everyone in the legendary venue is lit up with a mystic charge. Well, I speak for myself, I suppose. But what is personal is universal, just like a good rock song. And B.R.M.C. can write great rock songs. They can write pop, soul, blues, shoegaze, psychedelic, bluegrass, folk, punk. It is hard to define them, although many critics have tried.

The new songs they’ve debuted this week, “Lullaby,” “Funny Games,” “Rival” and “Lose Yourself” do not disappoint. While some fans responded to the subtle beauty of “Lullaby,” “Rival” is the clear front-runner, based on what fans have been posting on social networks and blogs. “I need a rival!” scream Hayes and Been repeatedly as Leah Shapiro taps out a military drum beat and Hayes rips it up on the guitar, using practically every pedal and effect (I counted about two dozen) known to man to make his guitar speak as many languages as there were people in the room. These guys don’t play their instruments. They feed off of them. During the new song, Hayes uses the ground controls to loop a melody while he plays rhythm, solos and sings. This is how they do it. It is complicated. It is a science. Hayes is obsessed with the technical aspects of his musical tools. He doesn’t have time to posture and pose. A manic scientist at the helm of a sonic ship, he drives the audience into a psychic region of tender harmonies and searing solos.

While Hayes is busy with the pedals, Been contributes with some of the most intricate bass lines ever written, carrying his bass with ease, sometimes without using his leather strap. Been leans into the front row, offers up his bass like a sacrifice, then retreats back to his amp, charges forward, spins, crouches, shakes his head, smiles at Hayes, closes his eyes in reverence, pleads into the microphone. This is the lion-in-a-cage Been I mentioned earlier.

Leah Shapiro is behind the drum kit, golden-headed, steely-eyed, precise and steady, the compassionate, warrior heart of the three-piece, holding it all together while the men prowl around her. We hear many men screaming her name throughout the night. This on-stage energy, this holy trinity, is something the band has described as akin to making love on stage. This eroticism they exude, as Dave Grohl himself described as the “sexiest music” is also the child of practiced seamlessness, their flawless delivery a mix of mutual, wordless understanding and a shared work ethic of perfectionism that translates into their live shows. If you give this band your hard-earned money, they will give back, in return, a solid, passionate, very loud performance every time.

I am ecstatic, jumping around when I can, my aging knee, ankle and lower back momentarily numbed by the narcotic effects of dearly loved music. Even the boys trying to slam dance behind me do not deter me from staying put up front as the band charges into their most popular and classic tunes, “Spread Your Love” and “Red Eyes and Tears”. I occasionally look around at the crowd and up into the seats jutting out over the bar, and the expressions on people’s faces are all too familiar. These 300 or so people are the truest of fans, and nobody is here to simply socialize and get inebriated before the world ends (except for the slam contingent). Known for personally stopping a song to put an end to such antics, the band seems unfazed by the volatile young men who drive away many audience members to the loft above. The security guards hired by the venue also ignore the inebriated frat boys.

Despite the violent energy behind me, I can’t help but look behind me to see faces illuminated with the red, blue and golden stage lighting which pulses along with the songs, at times bursting open with brightness when the music opens to full throttle and lifts us out of the muck of the work week left behind.

The band ends with the new song “Lose Yourself,” another transcendental meditation on the power of music”s ability to heal through mutual surrender. Just as my physical pain is diminished without the need for pharmaceuticals, the healing acceptance of inevitable mortality, cruelty, and worldly pain is part of the work of making art that identifies with the human aspect of feeling lost in the world but remaining on your feet. B.R.M.C.’s songs deliver the dark with stark honesty and then comfort the listener with the promise of a flip side to our human angst. The news lately has been painful to watch, and many of us are desperately grasping for hope. As Been sings to us during his surprise acoustic set after the show, “You need the darkness to see the light.”


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

OCWeekly The Troubadour Review


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

HVM Troubadour review

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Troubadour (Los Angeles, CA)
December 21, 2012

A widely held belief by hippies, hipsters and spiritual path-seekers was that 12/21/12 would usher in the Age of Aquarius: a new and great human era of change. Other intellectually-light individuals believed that the world would end. Which would kind of suck. But here on Planet Reality, 10:09pm ushered in a new wave and era of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (aka BRMC) and perhaps that was the conscious point that they wanted to make on such an auspicious date in their adopted hometown of Los Angeles. A new album en route in 2013? Check. Working the new tunes in an intimate space for fresh ears? Yep. Final show ever? No, just of the year because dates are already in place for their world tour in 2013. That's right, this is serious business! A band so damned garage rock and distorted blues heavy who live and die by razor-sharp with chaotic guitars and the backbone of an unflappable drummer are not to be taken lightly. If BRMC (Peter Hayes, Leah Shapiro and Robert Levon Been) have but one signature (they don't but for the sake of argument let's say they do), it would be their penchant for being all about business in the dimly lit performance. Passion and intensity are two tightly wound, securely bound kinetic forces that they agitate and release methodically - almost reverently - until that control rips at the seams while existing in the shadows - literally, figuratively and musically.

The reverence came early, on the eve that all was supposed to end, as they opened with a command for all things to start anew covering the Call's "Let The Day Begin." That singular song choice may have been lost on some at the Troubadour but not all: it's a song made popular by Robert Levon Been's father, Michael Been (who unexpectedly passed away in 2010), during his years with the Call. Popping the cork with the naked blessings and sheer optimism of a song like "Let The Day Begin" is not the norm but perhaps a sign of things to come. This is a band due for rejuvenation.

Sticking close to home with their setlist, eighteen songs were aired out; four of them fresh, shiny, new and loud. Perhaps another conscious decision to ensure everyone's blood remained hot and pumping in the close quarters of the Troubadour as the band relied on their more angstful and lively tracks from their first two albums (like "Stop," "US Government," "Love Burns" and "Screaming Gun" from B.R.M.C. and Take Them On, On Your Own), cherry picked "Conscience Killer" and the title track from Beat The Devil's Tattoo and "Ain't No Easy Way" from Howl. Guaranteed to engage between fleshing out the new material and yet Robert (who wears an air of old soul of weariness like a second skin) queried, "Isn't this the best thing ever?" as if there were any doubt what the response would be. It was pretty damned close [to the best thing ever]; it's not every BRMC show (or any, actually, that I recall attending) where slam circles and mosh-ing break out during "Six Barrel Shotgun."

The three pieces that make up BRMC walk that fine musical line between gritty snarls and graceful lamentations and the four new songs placed that aspect of their persona squarely in your face. Where the full-bodied blitzkrieg and punk swerve of "Rival" was all aggressive defiance and yet another example of Been attacking/using his bass as a second guitar, "Lullaby" takes a 180 degree shift to striking loveliness. Common is the knowledge that despite (or maybe due to) his quiet and reticent nature, Hayes is extremely adept at unleashing dense assaults of electric haze and sexy distortion via his Gibson, but "Lullaby" was surely that reminder that he's also masterful at plucking delicate, melodic notes from the air and landing them precisely where they should be. Such light-fingered yet assured guitar work backed by Shapiro's steadfast militant beat gave the room pause: a hold your breath so as not to disturb the fragility, kind of pause. It was a "hot damn" moment.

Let's be honest, as the end of times goes, this was the worst apocalypse ever but every last day on Earth should include having your musical G-spot hit by a band who always digs a little deeper for sonic gold and extends themselves to accommodate the extended family of their gang who have supported them; we'll call them 'fans.' Hayes wished all a "Happy End of the World," and in typical muted fashion, Been uttered an apology for slighting LA on an occasion or two and if he was referring to that missed Amoeba in-store show, here's hoping that he/they let it go because it's a non-issue. The old songs still roar, the new songs prove there is plenty of fire, snarl and grace in their bellies and the last night on Earth with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was just the beginning.
- Trina N Green



Photos and words by Debi Del Grande

No surprise BRMC sold out The Troubadour minutes after tickets went on sale. It’s been a long time since a proper gig was held in LA and we were craving some of that hard-driven, bluesy rock-n-roll that only this band can deliver. Sure, there were a couple of benefit shows where they played a few songs (tease) and a short trip to the San Diego Race Track, but not since The Echoplex shows back in 2010 have we had our true BRMC fix. Even vocalist/guitarist Robert Levon Been admitted towards the end that they kind of fucked us over. This must mean several more LA shows in the near future!
But before the darkness set in, Restavrant came to the stage. Having just toured with Scott H. Biram, Troy Murrah (vocalist/guitar) and Tyler Whiteside (drummer on everything in your garage) were as hot as the hinges of hell.

The minute drummer Leah Shapiro, guitarist/vocalist/harmonica Peter Hayes and Been walked out on stage, the beginning of our journey into the BRMC music world began. With a new album due out in March, I couldn’t wait to hear new tunes and was hoping we would hear almost the entire new album. Four new songs were played. The sweet melodic flow of “Lullaby” with Hayes’ guitar skills made me wish I could own the new album now so I can blast that one in the car at night.
Loyal fans (and there are many) know BRMC will sometimes do a little impromptu acoustic guitar number before or after the show. This time, a longtime and dedicated fan (Jodi) was serenaded by Been with some xmas tunes and another new song “Returning.”
BRMC more than made up for lost time.

Let The Day Begin (The Call cover)
Funny Games (new)
Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
Conscience Killer
Love Burns
Screaming Gun
Lullaby (New)
Ain’t No Easy Way
Rival (New)
US Government
Red Eyes and Tears
Six Barrel Shotgun
Spread Your Love
Lose Yourself (new)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Catalyst & Troubadour
















Saturday, December 22, 2012

first review from Slim's gig

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club review: Rockin'

Published 4:02 pm, Thursday, December 20, 2012
Peter Hayes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club delivered a searing set at Slim's, yet barely acknowledged the audience. Photo: Sean Havey, The Chronicle / SF 
Peter Hayes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club delivered a searing set at Slim's, yet barely acknowledged the audience. Photo: Sean Havey, The Chronicle / SF

If entertaining banter and audience engagement are what you're looking for, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club probably wouldn't be the best choice for a wedding band - unless you were going for a more austere celebration, that is.

Though the deliciously distortion-laden wall of sound seamlessly produced by the leather-clad power trio is a pleasure to witness in the flesh, the band's performance prowess left something to be desired Wednesday night during its sweaty, packed-to-the-gills set at Slim's.

Pounding out a thorough set list that sampled widely from the band's impressive decade-plus discography, BRMC underscored the unique role it has so adeptly played as the torchbearer of the hard-driving, blues-laden rock ballad. Armed with just a bass, guitar and drum kit, the San Francisco-born garage band (now based in Los Angeles) creates a sound far more robust than its individual parts might suggest, consistently producing full-bodied, throbbing tracks that gracefully weave together psychedelic-twinged, hard-rock melodies, front-porch foot-stomping blues and raw, stripped-down guitar solos.

BRMC, which borrows its name from the biker group in the 1953 Marlon Brando flick, "The Wild One," produces refreshingly loud music that pays tribute as much to the Velvet Underground and Black Sabbath as to Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker.

And although gleefully dark and restless in its musical delivery, the band came across as a bit hollow onstage, as though only a shadow of itself. In contrast with the sound it produced, its presence felt muted, distanced from the very admiring audience at its feet. Theatrical, it was not: no encores, no swagger, not a whole lot of crowd engagement. And though the entire set was delivered with impressive force and proficiency, the band's performance overall came across as somewhat mechanical and somewhat odd, given the intimacy of the venue.

It was a paradox conveyed by front man Robert Levon Been during one of the few times he paused to address the audience. In a barely audible tone, he muttered something to the extent of:

"We don't get to play places like this much anymore. We love it, but it's scary."

But emotional deficit aside, the two-hour show was worth it. BRMC pumped out a full-on assault of sound, covering some of its finest numbers in pretty much the perfect context: a small stage in a dark, sweaty room choked with fog and strobe lights.

In their mutually smooth nasal tones, Been and guitarist Peter Hayes flawlessly traded off on vocals, sharing and overlapping, sometimes abandoning the bass altogether and massaging two guitars in unison (Been on an old acoustic-electric Gibson). Drummer Leah Shapiro, the band's newest addition, who replaced Nick Jago in 2008, kept steady pace with deceptively simple beats that provided the perfect support without overwhelming the sound balance.

BRMC comes out with its seventh studio album in the spring. It's a long-awaited record, and it remains to be seen if the band can keep the distinct sound it so artfully has carved out for itself.
Among the evening's highlights were run-throughs of some of the band's early tunes, played with an austere elegance and an impressive decibel level, including an amazing version of "Ain't No Easy Way," featuring slide guitar and harmonica.

Playing an excellent dirge-like rendition of "Beat the Devil's Tattoo" from its solid eponymous 2010 release, the band under


Thursday, December 20, 2012

19/12/12 San Francisco Slim's NEW SONGS videos showing up

setlist from Slim's show popped out with few new songs !!!

- let the day begin (The Call cover), 
- funny games (new song)
- beat the devil's tattoo
- berlin, 
- conscience killer, 
- rifles, 
- love burns, 
- screaming gun, 
- lullaby (new song)
- ain't no easy way, 
- rival (new song)
- stop, 
- us government, 
- awake, 
- red eyes and tears, 
- six barrels shotgun, 
- spread your love, 
- lose yourself (new song).

 so let's listen to them


6 short films coming up

Leading up the release of the new album in March, BRMC will be releasing 6 short films that chronicle the making of the record, filmed and directed by Malia James.

A new one will be coming each week on our official website.

Watch part 1/6 now
or here ...



Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Official Page)
We've added two Irish shows at the front of the March tour

10th - Belfast - Limelight
11th - Dublin - The Academy ( :-DDD )

Tickets are on-sale 20th December
...and that wonderful event at the wonderful place which happens to be Dublin's Academy will take place 11th March 2013 19:00
... counting the days ... 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

...and next one

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Official Page) shared a link.
All three club shows this week are now sold out. We have a limited edition merch bundle available that comes with a "front of the line" laminate, a hand signed/numbered litho and a t-shirt available now.

SF -
Santa Cruz -
Los Angeles -

The shirts and posters will be mailed out - and you will get an email about how to collect your laminate day of the show.

See you soon!


Facebook update...

Just got word that there are only 30 tickets left for the Santa Cruz show this coming Thursday night - you can get them at our site -


Facebook update...

-the war is over, let the battle begin- ROBERT LEVON BEEN*

We wrapped in the studio today.

The album was officially completed and wrapped in the studio on 12-12-12

and of course it would be today of all days.

The mystical day of 3-3-3, as if any other day would’ve suited it. How could i have been so presumptuous to ever think otherwise.

This has been one of the most insane, hectic last couple weeks of my life, and that’s saying a lot.

We’ve been fighting against this deadline for months now and Peter only literally finished the final lyrics to one of the last songs on the record a few hours ago.

So it all built up to this moment.

not a moment to late… and not a moment to soon

god damn i need a drink.

Robert Levon Been 12/12/12 4:46 AM


Saturday, December 8, 2012

BRMC part of D.Grohl 'Sound City'

We're excited and honored to be a part of this film and of sound city's history...


Thursday, December 6, 2012

last tickets for December 19th & 20th gigs !

Just got word that there are only 20 tickets left for the December 19th show in San Francisco at Slim's and only a handful left for December 20th at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. You can get them, and all the other international dates now from our homepage - thanks to everyone that have picked up tickets so far!
More news coming soon!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shuffle Your Feet (Paste Session) & 2010 Interview