Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Photo by Juri Hiensch

If you would just know me through this blog you would probably get the impression that I only listen to classical music. But as it happens Shostakovich is somewhat of an exception because although I love classical music, I spend most of my days listening to non-classical stuff. Somehow I find it much harder to write about, maybe because I am convinced that everyone should love Shostakovich but acknowledge that with non-classical music there's perhaps more room for subjectivity. In my head anyway. But despite all this I decided that it's about time I do a post on Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the best band in the world right now (see, subjectivity!).

I bought their first self-titled album around the time it came out and loved it, especially Rifles, As Sure as the Sun and Red Eyes and Tears, and it's been in my cd player quite regularely since that time. I was kind of stupid though, and didn't realise just how much I loved them and therefore didn't buy their second or third album until a few years later. Realising my mistake I tried to quickly catch up and bought Take Them On, On Your Own, Howl, Baby 81 and then of course The Effects of 333, the live album and Beat the Devil´s Tattoo (my favourite of theirs!) as soon as those came out. I love every single one of these albums, apart from The Effects which just kind of confuses me, really.

What is it that I love about them? Well, first and foremost I am just entirely and completely in love with Robert Levon Been and his amazing bassguitar. Some bands rely on melodies, some rely on noise, some rely on rhythm, but BRMC, for me, rely on the bass. As a (rather average, admittedly) bassplayer this automatically makes me happy, but it's not just that. As a listener I mostly respond to low sounds, I dance along to the bass, I am just a bass-y person I guess? And I'm not trying to discount Peter's and Nick's and also Leah's contributions to the band, but it's just that for me Robert is absolutely essential. I think I might have a to do a blog entry on his basslines to be honest. But this is not that entry.

This is about their songs and their music and their unquestionable passion. I've seen a lot of bands live, and most of them I really enjoyed, but there are very few that are as intensen as BRMC. In fact, I might say that they are the most intense live band I have ever seen (perhaps Simian during their Chemistry is What We Are tour were just as intense). This intensity is an almost entirely physical experience, but it's also the feeling of there not being anything in the world at that moment apart from their music. An aesthetic experience pur sang perhaps.

But that's enough talking. Listen to some songs:

From BRMC:

Red Eyes and Tears (live)

From Take Them On, On Your Own:


From Howl:

Weight of the World

From Baby 81:

Killing the Light

From Beat the Devil's Tattoo:

River Styx


Annabel Lee (live)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


  1. Ik kan bijna niet geloven dat BRMC al bijna tien jaar geleden in.. Na het tweede album heb ik ze niet bijgehouden, maar ben sinds gisteren aan het inhalen \o/

  2. Wooo, mijn eerste comment blogspot.

  3. Raar hè, dat het zo lang geleden is? En dat ze nog steeds zó goed zijn. Ik ben ook op een bepaalde manier heel erg blij dat ik hun laatste album echt het beste vind, dat betekent dat er nog veel meer moois gaat komen!!

  4. i wholeheartedly agree. :)

    all out fantastic band. but pete´s as essential as robert. they way they swap instruments, change and share vocals is really special too.

  5. Yeah, I think you're absolutely right because they work together SO well but somehow I just have a soft spot for Robert :)!