I’m just going to say this at the start, I’m not all that familiar with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club(or BRMC for you abbreviation freaks.) That’s not to say I’m not familiar with the music they make. In fact, I quite like their debut and Take Them On, On Your Own. What I’m saying is I have no idea who’s who in the singing department. Between Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been I don’t know who’s singing what. I get they sound distinctly different, but as far as who’s who in the songs I have no idea.
Okay, now that I have that out of the way I can get on with it. BRMC has always been this cult band that come across kinda dark and mysterious. Are they hooligans? Vagrants? An actual motorcycle gang spreading their rock ‘n roll gospel across the world in every town they pass through? They might be. One thing I know for sure is that they like their brand of rock extra fuzzy and dirty, even coming up with enough groove in some of their tunes to soundtrack a striptease. Or at the very least show up in some sexy vampire flick.
BRMC have been at it for long enough now they felt it was time to give the world a live album. Live In Texas is a recording of their performance at Theatre Trianon in Paris, France. The live album is the bastion of every great rock ‘n roll band. It can be the midway stop in a band’s career, marking the end of one period and the beginning of the next. It can also be the death knell of a band, too. For my ears, 95% of all live records falter in attempting to create that ear-splitting and sweaty synergy you get from actually being at the show. They seem very two dimensional. A carbon copy of a carbon copy of a cabon copy of a Monet. There have been a few exceptions over the years where a live album somehow captures the adventurous and unpredictable side of a band, but those are few and far between.
So what do you get with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Live In Paris? You get their 2013 album Spectre at the Feast performed in its entirety at the outset, then the second half is a best of collection, grabbing bits and pieces from their debut clear through 2010s Beat The Devil’s Tattoo. It’s a reasonably well balanced group of songs, and even a few deeper cuts you wouldn’t have expected to hear.
There are, however, some songs that are glaringly absent in this collection. “Love Burns” and “Awake” off their debut would have been great to hear. “Six Barrel Shotgun” and “Ha Ha High Babe” off Take Them On, On Your Own would have also been great to hear played loud and live. “White Palms” was a nice surprise. Cranked to maximum decibels you can feel your inner being begin to come apart just a little.
Overall, this is a collection that any hardcore fan will want to own. Not only for hearing those buried album nuggets in the live environment, but also to hear the great Leah Shapiro playing the drums once again. Hopefully she will be fully recovered and rehabilitated soon enough and we can hear her playing on some new songs. I’m not sure the casual fan will get much from this dense two-disc collection, but if you’re cool with plunking down the cash, give it a whirl.
Viva la BRMC.
7.3 out of 10