By Alva Casey
Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Date / Venue: Wednesday November 20th, The Powerstation, Auckland
Once upon a time there was a band call The Elements. Discussions occurred and their name changed toBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club which I am sure we can all agree is far more suited to their rock n' roll ways.
Tonight's crowd was a little more sedate than the usual punters at such an event but then again it was a Wednesday night and the average age of the onlookers was in the forties. Decked out in black with plastic cups of beer clutched in hands it was a night to relive the youth of yester years.
Rock n' roll it certainly was. As the concert progressed we were taken on a stroll through the genre's variants of garage, psychedelic and acoustic. As "Hate the Taste" introduced the group onstage we were rewarded with the sight of the boys decked out in the appropriate leather attire complete with sideburns. They continued with their heavier tracks riling up the crowd before slowing us down calming the mosh with their more psychedelic styles. In fact their song "Fire Walker" was a perfect description of how the second half went. Lulling us to a serenity then erupting with drum to keep us on edge for just as we became comfortable swaying to the more mellow tunes they ramped back up with some old favourites.
The lighting matched the acoustics moving from grungy orange yellows to trippy blues as appropriate. We were even treated to good old-fashioned strobes to highlight the more dramatic musical moments.
There were no complaints as they worked their way through the new album Specter At The Festival but it was when Peter Hayes flared up his cigarette and the chords of "Spread Love Like A Fever" started that everyone really let loose.
Leah Shapiro was magnificent on drums. For me she outshone Hayes and Robert Levon Been even with their established skills on guitar, bass and harmonica and it probably wasn't until the encore when they did some acoustic pieces that they had a chance to come into their own. Their acoustic set was actually a little bit special and somehow managed to make the venue suddenly feel quite small and intimate.
We closed with "Whatever Happened With My Rock n' Roll". Nothing happened to it mate, it was right there with us all in Powerstation.