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bmrc08Live-Music-Hall, Cologne, Germany
9th April 2013
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club & Transfer

About one month after seeing BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB in Dublin already, today I had the pleasure again to see the band live on stage. This time, the journey was of course shorter since I only had to travel to Cologne where the venue, just like in Dublin before, was sold-out. About 1,800 fans gathered at the Live-Music-Hall for the last German gig of the Californian based band, which also was ending its four-week lasting European tour with this show. Of course, the trio brought their latest studio album, ‘Specter At The Feast’, with them and also support band TRANSFER was on the bill again, just like in Dublin before.


TRANSFER from San Diego, USA, are playing an interesting mix of RADIOHEAD, THE FLAMING LIPS and a little ARCADE FIRE. After releasing the ‘Sunken Eyes’ EP, including single ‘Sinking Sailing’, the band spent most of 2006 and 2007 with extensive touring in support of their debut album ‘Faded Signal’. In late 2008, the band was touring with SILENT COMEDY. In the following year, TRANSFER recorded their second full-length album, ‘Future Selves’, released only digitally on the bands own label. After a few short stops in Europe, the band returned in 2011 to support the WHITE LIES on their tour. Currently, the band is working on a new album. As first teaser, they are offering a new song, ‘Still Bad Blood’, as free download. TRANSFER is Jason Cardenas (acoustic & electric guitar, vocals), Matthew Molarius (acoustic & electric guitar, vocals), Shaun Cornell (bass guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Andy Ridley (drums). / /


Music & Performance
Just like BRMC, TRANSFER are coming from sun-kissed California and probably were freezing during the last weeks over here in the Old World. At least they did anything to warm up the Cologne audience. ‘Dark Behavior’ was opening the evening sharp at eight with spherical guitars before the song opened up. The cloverleaf around front man Matthew Molarius soon found the right tunes to catch the audience’s attention and so, crunchy ‘Instincts’ and the pushing ‘Kills Me Every Time’ enjoyed popularity. Before the set went on with the first calm, but also with enough peppiness provided ‘If The Morning Comes’, all of a sudden “Patches the Clown” appeared on stage. It remains a secret who exactly this man with red nose and black curly wig was. Probably this action was one of the jokes taking place usually at the fool’s day, the final day of a tour, since also TRANSFER were heading home after this show.


Now, ‘Still Bad Blood’ was increasing the speed once more and immediately went into leg and ear. For the final stomper ‘White Horse’ from the upcoming album, the stage was tinted into red light whereas the guitars were extensively treated in various speed. With slightly psychedelic borrowings and a lot of gusto, the guys from San Diego waved goodbye after half an hour under friendly applause of the auditorium.

01. Dark Behavior
02. Instincts
03. Kills Me Every Time
04. If The Morning Comes
05. Still Bad Blood
06. White Horse

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 7.8 / 10


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Originating from San Francisco, USA, Rock band BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB (BRMC) was founded back in 1998 by school friends Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes under the name THE ELEMENTS, renamed later since there was already a band under the same name. The current band name is taken from the movie ‘The Wild One’ with Marlon Brando. In 1999, the band signed a record deal with Virgin, releasing the self-titled debut album in April 2001. 2002, BRMC played as support for OASIS at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Over the last years, the band split with their drummer, Nick Jago, in 2008. He was replaced by Leah Shapiro. The band’s latest and seventh studio album ‘Specter at the Feast’ was released in March 2013, preceeded by the single ‘Let the Day begin’ in February 2013. BRMC is Peter Hayes (vocals, guitar, bass), Robert Levon Been (vocals, bass, guitar) and Leah Shapiro (drums). / /


Music & Performance
Half an hour before the show, yet not all gaps in the hall were closed since one or another visitor was rather staying outside with a beer and cigarette. But latest when the intro sounded through the hall punctually at nine, also the last visitor found its way into the hall which finally was really packed. Peter Hayes on stage did not care about German smoking ban at all, he came on stage with weed in his lips to deliver with his companions a successful opening. The opener was a song by THE CALL, ‘Let The Day Begin‘. And there was a reason for this choice: Robert’s father Michael Been was singer and bassist of this band. He tragically died from a heart attack at the age of 60 just during a show of his son at Pukkelpop Festival 2010. Often, he was called the fourth band member and he was frequently touring with the band as sound engineer and consultant. In his honour, not only ‘Specter At The Feast’ opens with this mentioned cover song, it also opens the current live shows. Also phat ‘Rival’ was taken from the current album and ones more fires a broadside before with ‘Red Eyes And Tears’ a mumbling monster from the early days of the band was on the setlist. The track with its wonderful edges was taken from the self-titled debut album from 2001 and was received with huge excitement by the audience while Robert for the first time on the evening was hunkered down on stage, a position he should take more often during this evening when not holding his instrument like a weapon or singing.


This was the case for the first time with ‘Beat The Devil’s Tattoo’ from the homonymous album from 2010. Like already during forerunner ‘Hate The Taste’, some kind of desert feeling was covering the event while the band was rocking with lots of drive. ‘Whatever Happened To My Rock’n’Roll’, the band was asking shortly afterwards and received the answer from the audience due to lots of movement and acclamation: Rock’n’Roll is alive and was celebrated just here. Along to the grooving Southern stomper ‘Ain’t No Easy Way’, there was heavy jumping in front of stage while peter was playing his harmonica and treated the strings of his acoustic guitar. Thanks to ‘Berlin’ from 2007 album ‘Baby 81’, the show snappily moved on before ‘666 Conducer’ crept into your brain. With highly emotional ‘Returning’, a position change was connected. Peter was taking over the bass on the left side and Robert on the right side changed to the six string, just to take over the show completely alone with ‘Mercy’. Leah and Peter left the stage for a little cigarette break and handed the stage over to the third man, who effusively praised his German fans and was rewarded with devotional silence during his heart-breaking presentation. Also Mr Hayes had his solo appearance afterwards, following right away with bluesy ‘Devil’s Waitin’’, being also presented acoustically.


After this calm intermezzo, ‘Fire Walker’ first took its time too to increase speed. But at the end, also this track went through and through, just like following ‘Windows‘ got a bang out of things with drifting beats. Greatly, ‘Conscience Killer’ was attached, combined with kind of Indian’s howling, being replaced by straight ‘Teenage Disease’. Bass accentuated ‘Stop’ saw the only crowd surfer of the evening. Besides that, audience was limit itself to rhythmic movement, especially seen during this song. Following mid-tempo ‘Love Burns’ presents Been with tambourine. Gradually, this song builds up more and more dynamic and vehemence, strikingly discharging finally during the solemn ‘Lullaby’. Various guitar effects were on the schedule during ‘In Like The Rose’. The vivid three-piece went on with full force and the song ‘White Palms’. Shimmering sounds accompanied ‘Funny Games’, before ‘Six Barrel Shotgun’ was burning down a sheer guitar fireworks turning the hall into a bubbling cauldron. ‘Spread Your Love’ soon was leading to extending mass jumping and while Peter once more played the harmonica, Mr Been was  searing closeness to his audience in the pit. With strong guitars, the BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB ended its regular set after two hours.


But the rockers had still two more songs on their list and so, the trio returned to stage after five minutes and performed another rattling song accompanied by flickering lights, making you nod with your head while crawling under your skin. Same counted for ‘Lose Yourself’. After good two and a half hour, the Americans ended their emotional show. And what a fantastic show this was! With every second the BRMC was playing, you felt the joy they had on stage presenting their music. It was not just a duty for them playing for the fans. The enormous joy in playing was unmistakeable and was visible also by the total length of the show being much longer than originally planned. And all nagger claiming BRMC are not the band they were years ago were disabused and also the new songs, being said by some critics to be random in a certain way, were all successful parts of the fantastic evening. The diversified light show went one step further putting the sound into the right light. There was nothing to moan about during this gig. Only sad thing is, that there won’t be another show in near future. All upcoming shows will take place in USA and Canada…


01. Let The Day Begin (THE-CALL-Cover)
02. Rival
03. Red Eyes And Tears
04. Hate The Taste
05. Beat The Devil's Tattoo
06. Whatever Happened To My Rock’n’Roll (Punk Song)
07. Ain't No Easy Way
08. Berlin
09. 666 Conducer
10. Returning
11. Mercy (Solo Robert)
12. Devil's Waitin' (Solo Peter)
13. Fire Walker
14. Windows
15. Conscience Killer
16. Teenage Disease
17. Stop
18. Love Burns
19. Lullaby
20. In Like The Rose
21. White Palms
22. Funny Games
23. Six Barrel Shotgun
24. Spread Your Love
25. Sell It
26. Lose Yourself

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /

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