Pop Break Live: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Night Beats at Brooklyn Steel
As bizarre as it sounds, it’s not everyday you can pop into a venue in Brooklyn and catch some good ole fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. With more and more guitar acts leaning toward pop hooks and synth-infused choruses, few contemporary artists remain with the tried and true rock trifecta of guitar, bass, and drums.
Luckily, we’ll always have Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Promoting their eighth studio album Wrong Creatures, which was just released on January 12th, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recently stopped by Brooklyn Steel with psychedelic rockers Night Beats to play the gritty type of garage rock you want to hear in Brooklyn on a Friday night.
Night Beats, a three-piece from Seattle, opened the show with heavy guitar riffs and dirty-sounding effect pedals underneath a stream of strobe lights. Playing tracks off their three records, Night Beats fused punk rhythms with Southern blues in a way that perfectly complemented the night’s headliner. Their single “No Cops” from their latest record Who Sold My Generation, which was actually produced by BRMC’s Robert Levon Been, was a memorable stand-out. If you’re looking for a raw kick drum and the type of bass you feel deep in your chest, go check out these guys.
By the time Black Rebel Motorcycle Club hit the stage, Brooklyn Steel was packed from corner to corner. Opening with the bass-heavy “Spook” off their new record, BRMC immediately set the tone for a night of moody, broody rock ‘n’ roll. Their sparse stage lit only by two huge light boxes allowed for the music to stand front and center. Guitarist Peter Hayes and bassist Robert Levon Been, both clad in leather and singing on either side of the stage, brought an edgy but relaxed energy while drummer Leah Shapiro hit peak coolness on tracks like “Little Thing Gone Wild,” “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo,” and even the classic “Stop.”
The crowd, ever receptive to new and old material alike, refreshingly refrained from lifting up their cellphones throughout the night. Considering BRMC has been regularly producing and performing music for nearly two decades, it’s no surprise their audience would mature with them. Despite a lack of onstage banter, the energy remained high throughout the night as the performers leaned into their strengths. Peter Hayes’ signature harmonica made an appearance during the fan favorite “Spread Your Love,” and he even banged a little bit on his own set of drums for the sexy, newer cut “King of Bones.” Robert rarely let up from his effect pedals and regularly threw himself into every riff. The slow burner “Question of Faith” allowed him to freestyle up and down the frets while Leah erupted on her drums with ease.
The show’s closer “What Ever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song)” fittingly capped off the night on the perfect note. “I fell in love with the sweet sensation / I gave my heart to a simple chord / I gave my soul to a new religion / […] whatever happened to my rock ‘n’ roll?” Robert sang, providing no other comment to the tune’s self-evidence. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are dirty boots, leather jackets, and slicked-up Gibson guitars; they have no frills and no banter, but they straight up rock.