Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Cycle Club at Manchester Academy One

– NQ reporter Amy Stott reviews Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's gig at Manchester Academy.

A sea of black, leather, biker jackets surge forward in anticipation, as the whole room is engulfed in darkness, before Black Rebel Motorcycle Club take to the stage and the entirety of Manchester Academy comes alive.


The trio begin by playing Little Thing Gone Wild, their newly released single, which fans were treated to in September this year. This is the perfect song to open with as it’s so full of energy and really does get the crowd going wild, whilst allowing vocalist and guitarist, Peter Hayes, to effortlessly flaunt his vocal talent. It is the first we’ve heard from the band’s new album Wrong Creatures, due to be released in January 2018.


Provoking fans to clap along to the beat, singing and dancing, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo is an entire show within itself. Guitarist and vocalist, Robert Levon Been, explains that the song was influenced by Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Devil In The Belfry, after drummer, Leah Shapiro, gave him a book of Poe’s writing. The song encapsulates so much of what the band has to offer, from their laid back, stoner sounds, to Shapiro’s drum thrashing, to the bluesy and funky guitar jams throughout.


In an interview with Express, Been said, ‘I noticed that every 20 seconds in the song, something changes. It tripped me out. It’s actually down to the second.’ And he isn’t wrong, the song really is a journey from start to finish.


The whole atmosphere changes as the band announce that they’re about to play two acoustic tunes. The brief break is welcomed with attentive ears and gentle swaying from the crowd.


Vocalists and guitarists Hayes and Been take turns to play a song respectively. Marked only on the set list as ‘Acoustic #1’ and ‘Acoustic #2’, the sound of the first song is almost transcendental but in keeping with the badass, moody vibes the Californian trio’s music oozes.


The second is dark and progressive, causing the feeling in the room to gradually build in a way that foreshadows the climax to come at the end of the night.


It’s fair to say that the only way to properly end a BRMC gig is to close with what are their most well known songs, Spread Your Love and Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song). Been takes centre stage and riles the audience up, holding his guitar out in front of him as though it were a gun, prompting further cheers from fans.


The energy becomes electric as plastic pint cups, still full with beer, are launched with excitement into the air. Fans sit on each other’s shoulders to catch a better view of the stage and the air above everyone’s heads is filled with hands throwing the ‘rock on’ gesture, as the well-known lyrics are belted passionately from peoples’ lungs.


BRMC captured the essence of everything rock ‘n’ roll tonight, with their easy going attitude, all black attire, and a glorious mixture of sounds from punk to blues – being there really did feel like home.