Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Barrowland Glasgow show review...

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – review

Barrowland, Glasgow
4 out of 5
After over a decade loitering indistinctly within a fogbank of feedback, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have just released perhaps the most wholly satisfying album of their career. Unfortunately, Specter at the Feast has emerged from the worst possible circumstances: the passing of Michael Been, the father of BRMC bassist Robert Been and the trio's producer and sound engineer, who died after a heart attack at a Belgian rock festival in 2010.

That the album, and this tour, serve as both memorial and tribute is made clear when the band open with Let the Day Begin, a cover of Been Sr's most prominent hit as lead singer of US rockers the Call. The BRMC version has more of a judder to it, but the optimistic refrain remains intact, and helps sweeten what is a predominantly snarling two-hour set, still heavily stacked with tracks from their reverb‑drenched debut album, delivered as part of a heavy-on-strobes, light-on-smalltalk blitzkrieg.

For a trio, they make a hell of a racket, and there's something almost purifying about the newfound volume and intensity of Conscience Killer and the ZZ Top-esque Berlin. "We spent two years making this record, thanks for being there for us," says guitarist Peter Hayes, introducing Returning, which swaps out some of their raw, rumbling firepower for a more plaintive swirl.

After a brief acoustic interlude of Hayes on piano, guitar and mouth organ, the band threaten to linger in the land of swampy dirge overkill for just a little too long. But after the skull-rattling double-tap of Six Barrel Shotgun and a walloping Spread Your Love, Been reels off a list of behind-the-scenes thank-yous and, clearly moved by the crowd's reaction, ends with Lose Yourself, a stately, oblique eight-minute elegy. It's a word often misapplied in music criticism, but the result is pretty cathartic.