review archive

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / Bob Log III Forum, 11th May 2002

See, told you I'd give BRMC another chance. We find ourselves in a somewhat sparsely populated Forum (funny how venues seem smaller when there's nobody in them) squinting at the high speed slide guitar noise which is reverberating round and round the room with no mass of bodies to soak up the sound. On stage concocting this racket is Bob Log III, a one-man band playing super fast blues guitar, beats hammered out on a kick-drum to his right. Bob is dressed in a sparkly jumpsuit and a shiney silver motorcycle helmet, protruding from which is a telephone receiver that acts as a mic (no really, there is). Unsurprisingly, his vocals are scratchily distorted, sounding like a highly amplified nuisance caller. It's a somewhat disturbing spectacle. Disconcerted, we feign nonchalance by perusing the boring selection of BRMC tee-shirts on display.

scuzz pop
The Forum veerrryy sloowwly fills up. It does seem like BRMC may have over-reached themselves by playing two nights on the trot here. What were they thinking? Still, gives us a good laugh to see the touts out of pocket.
So, now I get to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with their proper drummer on board. Presumably the visa probs that prevented him joining the band's last British jaunt have been sorted and they'll play their holey little socks off, then the scales shall fall from my eyes as I marvel at their sonic magnificence.
Hmm, well all the songs are there. Top scuzz-pop tinged with goth, thumping fuzzy mumblesome tunes like 'Red Eyes And Tears' and 'Love Burns'. There's the white light 'n' dry ice atmospherics reducing dual front-men with big hair, Peter and Robert, to furry silhouettes. Drummer Nick does add an extra dimension and I can see why the other two appeared to be so awkward without him. Battering his way round a see-through (classy!) drum kit, sweaty poker-straight hair flying, he seems to be the one getting the most out of the whole shebang. It's a shame they don't shove him to the fore.
furry silhouette
I skip and hop about to the songs, trying to inject a bit of excitement into proceedings, hoping to chivvy along the slack-jawed stock-still audience around me. I seem to be right near the front without having made any effort to get there. Where are all the proper fans, the kids straining to be near their top pop faves? There's a small, vaguely enthusiastic mosh-pit (or maybe 'mush-pit' is more suitable) in the very middle, but on the whole everybody seems largely indifferent to proceedings. This is weird, this is a sorry state of affairs. Like last time, something just isn't connecting here and it doesn't seem to be just me not getting it. When this band first appeared on Kitten radar, I had high hopes of something groovy, I really wanted to like them. I've tried, but I'm going to have to admit defeat. Towards the end I go and stand at the back, the place to be if you actually want to get decent sound. It's a powerful wash of scuzzy noise, but still there's a sense of detachment there, you can't get wrapped up and carried away, cocooned in noise.
Whatever Happened To My Rock And Roll
'Whatever Happened To My Rock And Roll' (indeed!) is of course saved until last. It's the one the kids love and at last a few more of them shake a tail-feather, flailing about, a bit of life, too little too late.
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