LIVE: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Manchester Academy
It can be a very dangerous game to throw yourself right back into one of your favourite bands’ output after a prolonged period of neglect. However, that’s the action Far Out felt compelled to take after discovering Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were back on the road to pre-curse their first new record in five years.
Wrong Creatures won’t be with us until January, but the first single ‘Little Thing Gone Wild’ has been reverberating around our heads for a good few weeks now – an undeniably danceable number that proves the trio have lost none of their trademark stomp and effortless cool.
What’s more? Their own confidence in their comeback is demonstrated by the fact that the track is boldly chosen as the set’s opener tonight. With an enduring career that has spawned so many sing-alongs, it would be easy for them to start with a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, but why not challenge your audience a little?
It doesn’t take long for a more familiar chorus to fill the venue, however, as bassist and co-frontman Robert Levon Been belts out the infectious melody of ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo’.
From there on in, it’s a sprawling career-spanning repertoire that exudes showmanship and an almost unrivalled versatility of songwriting. If there can be one small dampener of our experience it is only the questionable sound quality on a couple of the more stripped back numbers. We struggle to make out the sound of Peter Hayes’ acoustic guitar over the top of the drums during 2005 single ‘Ain’t No Easy Way’.
As the night goes on, however, there are very few in the room who appear in any way dissatisfied, as a sea of pint-launching excitables down the front bounce up and down in unison.
The contrast between the two frontmen is also one of the band’s main strengths on the live stage, with Hayes’ more reserved approach complementing Been perfectly, who comes to the edge of the stage to bait the crowd, and revel in a banner down the front that simply reads ‘B.R.M.C. ARE BOSS’.
The biggest hits are indeed saved for the end of the main set with ‘Spread You Love’ being followed by ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song)’. But they again prove that the new record is in no way a tokenistic return, with the meandering ‘Ninth Configuration’ bringing the night to a woozy, yet encapsulating end.
Whether you’re a diehard fan who never left them, or someone who let your finger slip from the pulse, BRMC’s comeback is an undeniably welcome one.