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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Live @ Double Door
By August Forte, St@tic
(more articles from this author)
2001-09-11
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'Black tar serpentine.'

This is the most apt description that I can muster, and I repeated it to myself like a mantra as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club slithered through a recent support set. There is something about the band and their music that is akin to the snake---slow, deliberate, almost lethargic until it needs to strike its prey. There is something narcotic, as well. They sound like some bargain struck between the body and the drug that brings elation one minute and deep contemplation the next.

Formed in San Francisco in 1998 by high school friends Peter Hayes (guitar) and Robert Turner (bass), the duo soon enlisted drummer Nick Jago and began gigging around the bay area. Taking their name from the 1954 Marlon Brando vehicle The Wild One, they exuded enough rock n' roll confidence to get the attention of Virgin Records, and their major label debut, B.M.R.C., has been garnering rave reviews and solid support from college radio.

The trio tapped into their album heavily at Double Door, wringing sticky sweet feedback from the cuts "Love Burns," "Too Real," and the Jesus and Mary Chain-style "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'N' Roll." The set was an exercise in control and poise: three backlit figures finding a groove approximate to the one which makes their record so engaging, and still sounding ragged and spontaneous enough to win over a crowd hyped to see headliners, The Charlatans. In fact, the veteran English band was careful not to follow B.M.R.C. onstage too quickly. The last thing you want to do is startle a snake.

Black tar serpentine, indeed.


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