Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Manchester Academy 1 - 3.11.03

The last time I saw BRMC at the Academy the band sounded fresh, exciting and invigorating. Even though they sounded at times like a tribute to the Jesus And Mary Chain, I hadn't heard that intense, sleazy, unpretentious rock n roll for quite a few years and it was genuinely refreshing. Back with a new album "Take Them On, On Your Own" BRMC haven't really progressed or moved on despite recording a few more slower and introspective tracks.

Tonight, the Academy is sold out, expectations are high and if the energy and excitement of last year can be matched then a good night should be had by all. Sadly the band are hindered from the outset by appaling sound. The feedback is attrocious, it's too bottom heavy and you can hardly make out the vocals.Thankfully a few songs in and any problems are resolved, the music though is beginning to sound tired, weary and one dimensional. "Spread Your Love" still sounds gloriously glam rock with a sprinkling of chords courtesy of "Spirit In The Sky" and when the three lads start jamming you see them revelling with glee. For the most part BRMC are stuck in a rut due to their own limitations. The repetition of the three chords rock marathons without very little variation or experimentation really tried my patience.

It was thrilling last year because their sound had elements of danger and debacughery, but the novelty is now wearing a little thin. At times the vocals take on the sneery arrogance of Liam Gallagher and the early spirit of Oasis rediscovered. The band finish in a heavy racket of crashing guitars, thundering bass and the primal tribal power of the drums in a fitting climax. It's just a pity this level of passion wasn't evident from the moment the band began to hit their stride.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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