In a perfect journalistic world, every review is either an unabashed rave about a life-defining record or a scathing pan, solidifying [insert band/album] as [insert hyperbolic insult]. That’s how we want it – that’s how I want it, anyway – black and white. Challenge me, that’s fine, that’s encouraged, but make it either good or bad, please.

But, such is rarely the case. As anyone who’s more than just a casual listener of music knows, records are rarely either astounding or disgusting; usually they’re somewhere in-between. Such is the case with the new live set from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The two-DVD, one-CD package is culled from the band’s performances in Berlin, Dublin, and Glasgow from their 2007 tour in support of Baby 81. While songs like the pulsating “Weapon of Choice” (from Baby 81) and the smoldering “Mercy” (an outtake from the fantastic Howl) capture a warts-and-all rock ‘n’ roll band shedding pretense to simply play, the record gets bogged down by the likes of “Dirty Old Town” (they played it because they were in Ireland, get it?!) and “Six Barrel Shotgun” (among several terribly-titled songs in the BRMC catalogue).

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Live is not a great record, but is by no stretch of the imagination an awful record. For the BRMC completest, it’s a very nicely packaged document of the band on tour, but for the casual fan, it likely won’t warrant more than a few cursory listens, serving mostly as a reminder that you haven’t put Howl on the turntable in too long.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Weapon of Choice
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Mercy

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Official Site, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on myspace, Buy Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Live

4 thoughts on “BRMC: LIVE”

  1. Good to read a more reserved review than all those high praises by folks who jumped on the BRMC wagon several years too late anyway!
    I love their first album, I think it’s one of the best records of the decade and the concert of theirs in early 2002 in a tiny, packed club in Hamburg was incredible.
    I didn’t like their second effort too much and skipped the tour, but they had me back with Howl (also a great tour).
    Now Baby 81…I think it’s rather boring. It has some good tunes, but I never even listened often enough to tell any song titles, so go figure…I can imagine the newer songs come across better live, but I’m not sure I get the new release. I think I rather invest that money in the Brian Jonestown Massacre vinyl reissues…

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