Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Terminal 5

Robert Levon Been
Guitarist Peter Hayes grew up in Minnesota, where his mother taught him to play guitar during his teenage years. While in high school in Lafayette, California, he met bassist Robert Levon Been, son of the Call's Michael Been, of Santa Cruz, California, and Hayes moved into Been household. Hayes joined the Brian Jonestown Massacre in 1997 but left in 1998, when the two former schoolmates reunited to form a band called the Elements in 1998. Upon discovering that another band had the same name, the members changed the name to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (often abbreviated as BRMC), after Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang in the 1953 film The Wild One. The band presently consists of Hayes, Been, and former Raveonettes drummer Leah Shapiro. The band's seventh and most recent album is 2013's Specter at the Feast.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club headlined at Terminal 5 on the night of the presidential elections. As the race results were being tallied, the road crew propped near the drum kit a head mask of Donald Trump with a vulgar word across its face; the band members later tossed it into the audience during "US Government," a song with lyrics critical of the state of domestic government. With no new album to market, BRMC played a loud, driving set of rock and roll songs from its catalogue, plus a song in progress seemingly titled "Bandung Hum." BRMC cultivated classic rock sounds from Tom Petty vocals to ZZ Top buzz saw guitars, but also amalgamated shoegaze, drone and grunge. For a slightly softer touch, Hayes briefly rocked an acoustic guitar like an old folkie; otherwise the set was straightforward pedal-to-the-metal rock. While the music resourced many sounds, it all melted into a groove as dark as the dim stage lighting.

Visit Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at www.blackrebelmotorcycleclub.com.