Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
"April 6, 2010"

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - April 6, 2010

Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA

When you think of rock ‘n' roll band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club you think of moody, outspoken lyrics, blues and old school rock influences, and, most notably, guitars. Well after checking out the addition of the band's new drummer Leah Shapiro at the band's Philadelphia show, well, we all just might need to restructure our thinking. While they ordinarily might be thought of as a trio with a big sound, at least when you see them live, those drums aren't just background rhythm. Shapiro's strong, physical style kept the drum mics wiggling on the drum riser all night as she kept pounding and added something special that her two stringed counterparts just couldn't.

Not that they didn't try. While guitar player Peter Hayes seemed content to be the strong but silent type, at least physically, and focus on his instrument and vocals while hanging in the shadows and the clouds of smoke that were drifting out from behind Shapiro, bassist Robert Levon Been was another story. Been would hoist his large bodied bass up under his arm, strumming it as though it were tiny ukulele as he serenaded the audience in what seemed an intimate fashion despite the large crowd. Other times he teased fans stuck behind a barrier feet from the stage by dangling off the stage's edge as he played.

The band broke out new tunes from the new record "Beat The Devil's Tattoo," including "War Machine," "Mama Taught Me Better," "Aya" and the pounding title track itself, along with old favorites like "Red Eyes And Tears," "Ain't No Easy Way," "Berlin" and "Weapon Of Choice."

The audience erupted as the band dropped their calling card, "Whatever Happened to My Rock'n'Roll (Punk Song)," before leaving the stage before the encore. When they returned they brought with them an older friend who had put them up in Philadelphia while they recorded what would become their latest album. As a thank you, the friend joined the band for a touching and informal cover of "Love Me Tender."

And if you're planning to attend any of the band's upcoming shows, be sure to bring your sunglasses. The band live up to their hipster cred by playing the majority of the show cloaked in darkness, they are backlit. While the lightshow might look cool, it's damned obnoxious as the high intensity lights bores into your retinas - and that's without the pulsing strobe effect.