Some people say that songs have a life of their own. If that’s true, then the music of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is a force to reckon with, dressed in black from head to steel-toed boot. If you’re not paying attention, these songs will jump right out of the speakers and slap you across the face with a guitar riff. A bit of advice: this is not something you want to ignore.
Wednesday will see the return of the Los Angeles-based trio B.R.M.C. to Madison as it headlines a show with The Warlocks and Firewater at Club 770 in Union South. They played a show last year at the Memorial Union.
At the beginning of their set the Rathskellar was scarcely filled by a handful of loyal groupies. By the end, though, the room was packed with transfixed listeners whom the songs had tackled in the hallway and dragged in.
B.R.M.C.’s self-titled debut album is a big hit in Europe right now, which isn’t surprising given Europe’s often-edgy musical tastes. Despite being backed by the all-consuming label Virgin Records, the band has yet to break through here in the States.
It shouldn’t be long, though, and this show may be the last chance to see the group in a small enough venue to actually see their faces while they perform.
The first single off of the album, “Whatever Happened to my Rock N’ Roll(Punk Song)” is playing twice a day on England’s MTV.
Starting off with a distorted guitar riff and the quintessential punk countdown, “One, two, three, four” the song launches into a tight, headbang-able ball of dark angst. Peter Hayes and Robert Turner half-scream, half-sing, “I gave my soul to a new religion/ whatever happened to my rock and roll?”
What does it mean? It doesn’t matter. The cut will work up a crowd in 10 seconds flat, guaranteed. The song ends with a Led Zeppelin-esque turn as the guitars distort and melt together into a chaotic whirlpool with Nick Jago’s trippy percussion and radio static.
Another standout track is the kickoff tune “Love Burns.” This time, radio static and wind lead with an acoustic guitar before a driving drum beat crashes on the scene and the song explodes into an anthem for the recently dumped. A later track, “Red Eyes and Tears,” is a sort of dirge set to a rock beat.
These are kicky little songs and you can dance to them too. Apparently, we have found the antithesis to pop. If N’Sync had evil, hell-dwelling twins, the members of B.R.M.C. would be them. There is one thing that distinguishes B.R.M.C., though — the group’s impossible-to-ignore musical know-how.
The band is a group of pale-faced, crazy-haired, somber lads who can write some fantastic melodies. The sound is rich and undeniably aggressive. The disc is the one that you seriously rock out to in your car when you’re sure no one is looking. The concert is this Wednesday and the songs will be there, kicking ass and taking names.