BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB at Lee's Palace, July 5. Tickets: $18. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
A huge chrome-and-black tour bus staked its claim on Bloor West outside Lee's Palace . Surely, something big was going on. Inside, the ultra-cool crowd milled, drank beer, smoked and waited until midnight for this year's heroes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club , to take the stage. Darlings of the SoCal scene, these "any colour as long as it's black" boys are making waves all over the world, especially in England, where people getting tired of the sensitive emo croonings of Coldplay et al. want their rock 'n' roll back.
Picking up where their idols the Jesus & Mary Chain and Oasis left off, BRMC have no problem obliging your need for a dark rock fix.
The lights dimmed, the smoke machine was switched to high and BRMC shyly worked their way through three loud, distorted songs before acknowledging the rowdy T.O. crowd with a thank-you that seemed to take everything guitarist/singer Peter Hayes had in him. It's a good thing bassist Rob Turner shares vocal leads, because Hayes clearly needed the boost he brought to the songs.
It's been a couple of months since they've played live, so an oil change was necessary to get the engine running smoothly, and the band didn't really settle in until halfway through the hour-long set, when they went full throttle through Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N Roll (Punk Song).
Clearly buoyed by the crowd, all three members actually cracked a smile at one point and even moved around a little. Well, Rob Turner did anyway.
They played familiar tunes from 2001's self-titled debut along with songs from new release Take Them On, On Your Own, due out in September, which unfortunately sounded redundant. The new material is virtually indistinguishable from the old, showing that BRMC are spending more time working on their image than on their music. Cool wears thin when the song remains the same - a lesson they should have learned from mentors Oasis.