Images by Rachael Wright
Through the smoke, the thunderous sound of guitars instantly ignited the legendary 100 Club as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took to the stage and opened the gig that would firmly cement them in the notorious venues history.
Having endured the lengthy line around the block to gain entrance, a heaving mass of summer soaked bodies packed the front of stage and every spare inch the club had to offer, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the San Francisco trio. This was a rare UK outing for the band whose ‘hey-day’ is fondly referred to as back in early 2000s; yet their performance tonight would leave every observer with the sense that perhaps their defining moment is yet to come.
Launching head first into single ‘Hate The Taste’ from their latest, Seventh studio album ‘Specter At The Feast’ with full rock and roll force, the audience swelled and roared with glee at the visceral guitars, so shamefully absent from today’s charts. As the overactive smoke machine took a momentary pause, the effortlessly cool outlines of guitarist, Pete Hayes and bassist, Robert Leven Been emerged, the audience now transfixed and worshipping at the sound of the rebels in view.
Moving swiftly and with little conversation, a feat that simply served to a sense of the shows significance, the band smouldered through their set. Drummer Leah Shapiro, formerly of The Raveonettes, provided a steady beat and a dirty pace to every glorious and gritty track. ‘BTDT’, ‘Let The Day’, ‘Aint No Easy Way’, ‘Berlin’, they rocketed through their illustrious career with an ease and tightness that many bands today could only dream of. You could almost taste the relief in the air that rock was still alive, still living, still breathing
As the end of the night was nigh, the audience finally found themselves rewarded with trademark tracks: ‘Whatever Happened To My Rock N Roll’ and ‘Spread Your Love’, both taken from their 2001 debut ‘BRMC’ and boy, was it worth the wait with both sounding bigger, better and sublimely louder than we all hoped for.
With the speakers still throbbing from the last chord, an unexpected fire alarm drew a dramatic end to the night, throwing a buzzing crowd onto London’s Oxford Street where suddenly in front of a shop shutter came the acoustic twang of ‘The Weight of The World’ as Mr Levon Been treated the ejected crowd to a final number in full busking style. No airs, no graces, just rock and roll.
Words by Erika Perfect