Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
261 Driggs Ave.
Brooklyn, NY, 11222
Doors 7:30 PM
This event is 16 and over
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Peter Hayes -- Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Harmonica, Keys
Robert Levon Been -- Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Piano
Leah Shapiro -- Drums, Percussion
Somewhere between the five full-length albums and a decade-long road test across the highways of the world, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club found their way.
Eleven years after bassist Robert Levon Been and guitarist Peter Hayes started playing gigs around their hometown of San Francisco, the duo has now started over, with a new vision, a new drummer, and the gift of a future unknown.
The sound of Beat The Devil's Tattoo comes from everywhere and nowhere- it draws a map and embarks on a sonic road trip through American music; from howling front porch stomps on the Chattanooga and beer-sloshing Texas roadhouse rockouts, to swaggering proto-punk sneering in NYC's basement bars.
For six months, Hayes, Been and new drummer Leah Shapiro, holed up in a basement studio together, during one of the coldest winters in recent history. In this house outside Philadelphia - the same place Howl was penned - they built their first album as a new band from the ground up. "It was like a family again, living together and working really closely like that," Been says. "Something happened to us out there though, I'm not sure if we beat back our demons, or if we just let them take us over completely. But strange days make for strange times."
Shapiro replaced longtime BRMC drummer Nick Jago behind the set, bringing a newfound sense of professionalism, which she honed from playing with the Danish rockers, The Raveonettes.
"She knows how to watch when she plays," Hayes says, "there's intuition and there's the ability to watch our body language as we're really going to dig into something."
With Shapiro on board, the band recorded in Los Angeles at the Station House, tracking all basic tracks in a shocking four days.
"We wrote over 23 songs for this record and the hardest thing about it was probably narrowing it down to a final 13 track album," Been says. "There's just a strange effortlessness now, which I haven't felt since we recorded our first album. It's just got that kind of nervous, kind of excited, kind of unsure feeling, where we don't know where it's gonna go next, so everyone just stands out of the way."
Beat The Devil's Tattoo stirs with a raw sexual energy, melting down their previous four records, and forging a style that encompasses them all. The firebrand fuzz bass from their first two albums B.R.M.C. and Take Them On, On Your Own emerges on "Shadows Keeper," and "Aya," Howl's acoustic driven, edgy Americana is ever-present on "Long Way Down" and the title track, "Beat the Devil's Tattoo."
Like the title of the album, a phrase gleaned from Edgar Allen Poe's 1839 short story, "The Devil In The Belfry," BRMC stands on the edge of darkness, but never dives in.
"Leah had given me a book of Poe short stories and I'd immersed myself in it. The one phrase 'Beat The Devils Tattoo' leaped out at me though for some reason. I read up on it and found that it originally meant 'the beat of a drum or a bugle signaling soldiers to return to their camps after dark'. But it's a very old lost phrase. These days, I guess it's used whenever anyone anxiously drums their fingers on a table or taps their foot on the ground incessantly, they're 'beating the devil's tattoo.'"
With songs of self-destruction and redemption, of heartbreak and ecstatic love, Beat The Devil's Tattoo traverses much emotional ground. Like Poe's American Gothic style, the album infuses the soaring spirit of Southern folk with lowdown grit of bijou blues. The slide-guitars and tambourine stomp of "River Styx" brings us "to the water's edge where every sin has been washed away." The dusty howls opening "Conscience Killer" evoke a fire-and-brimstone preacher leading the choir at an Alabama big-top revival.
The piano piece, "Annabel Lee," beautifully ends the UK album with the adaptation of Poe's story of everlasting love beyond the grave.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Like the best balladeers, like Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Lou Reed, BRMC, translates feelings into sound, and sound into lyrics that sets off on moody journeys deep into the soul.
"We wouldn't be in a band if people were saying what was in my head, the way I need it heard," Hayes says, "The only thing that satisfies inner reconciliation is music, spitting it out, making and creating ourselves."
BRMC's ceaseless drive to create, to tell stories of redemption and aching desire, keeps them going. It's an addiction, an unquenchable thirst appeased only by the undying love of rock and roll.
"To me music connects everyone and everything, that is the light," Been says, "If we're able to write something, and someone can relate to it, or feel something from it, the light is blinding"
Thanks be to Rock. Amen.
Restavrant (Rest^vRant) is junkyard high art. A catapult that soaks in a wealth of contrasting influences and Pollacks back the mash obscuring any predictable template of genre. Electrocana, roots, punk, country and slide blues would seem to be rough acts to merger but through the mad science of front man Troy Murrah the formula hits the nail.
Murrah, a thirty something Los Angeles based Victoria, Texas native possesses a restless wiring that lends dimensional creativity to his projects incorporating visual art and a compelling asthetic in live shows as well as promotional materials. Troy got a late start musically but hit the ground running. During a moderate "social hiatus" he shacked up with a Silvertone and cut his teeth on the works of Mississippi Fred Mcdowell. He began as a solo one man band act until joining forces with J State who expanded the dynamic and provided percussion, Korg and back up vocals on the 2008 Narnack records realease 'Returns to the Tomb of Guiliano Medidici' and the 2011 album ' Yeah I Carve Cheetahs' under Hillgrass Bluebilly Records. In the current incarnation, Murrah is backed by a rotating cast of talent that captains the elaborate salvage lot trash kit that serves as the driving force of the bands overall sound.
Rest^vrant's hybrid of big belt buckle break loops, slide, banjo, vox and harp have been well received over the course of two full length releases and an extensive west coast and european tour. The band is currently in studio recording what will be their third release and a U.S tour with veteran "dirty ol' one man band" Scott H. Biram has been confirmed for the fall.
On Yeah, I Carve Cheetah's:
Los Angeles-based roots rock and electro trash duo Restavrant have created a visionary and positively indiosyncratic sound which involves both sides of the musical coin, so to speak. With bluesy slide guitar and countrified pickin', gritty megaphone vocal delivery, harmonica, the layers provided by loop station programming, the catchy electric vibe of a keyboard, and the clank, tap and stomp of a junkyard drum kit, these two churn out something that is equal parts organic and mechanical, and equal parts rustic and urban. In nearly every way this is a combo that should not work, but somehow it does. It works remarkably well, in fact; so much so that Restavrant are now preparing to release the follow-up to their well-received 2008 debut Returns to the Tomb of Guiliano Medidici, at last. The upcoming album is titled Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs, of all things, and it is slated for a January 10, 2012 release from Hillgrass Bluebilly Records.
Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs finds Restavrant's Troy Murrah and J State in the process of honing their highly experimental songcrafting even further, and thus surpassing the astonishing musical feats of their debut. Cheetahs has a bit more six-string fury and trashed-up energy, some stronger rhythms and bolder riffs, harder hitting beats, and increasingly intricate song structures in general than Returns. Out of the album's twelve tracks, there are a few that I particularly appreciate, like "Six Years," "Fight Myself," "Bev D," the title track "Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs," "Oakley Shades," and "Lie o' My Life." And of course there is the one cover song on the album, CCR's "Bad Moon Rising," a much covered tune, to be sure, but it is likely the most peculiar and daring version to date.
In Hillgrass Bluebilly Records' press release on the album, they state that they are proud to "…unleash Restavrant's second full length album Yeah, I Carve Cheetahsfor guaranteed heavy rotation on your various listening devices." That was quite a prophetic statement; after all, the album has been in my player for the better part of two weeks, with only brief deviations to sample other newly acquired albums. But I keep returning to it, just as I imagine all of you who obtain copies of your own undoubtedly will.
Though they are currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Troy Murrah (guitar, banjo, harp, vocals) and J State (junk kit, other percussion, microKorg, and back-up vocals) hail from Victoria, Texas. Both locales are represented in Restavrant's music in all of their differing points, from the Crossroads country and blues of Victoria to the melting pot music of Los Angeles. They have also played a number of gigs in both cities, and their wild sets, invariably followed by vigorous applause, have been highly appreciated by both audiences. And their albums, the content of which being all too similar to their live material, have also been met with the same level of appreciation.
Restavrant's Yeah, I Carve Cheetahsis one of those rare follow-up albums that I find better than the one that came before it. And I, as a big fan of this duo, can only hope that this trend continues for future releases.
Incidentally, the boys have a handful of upcoming shows in support of Cheetahs. Most of the shows, to the disappointment of those fans who reside here on the east coast, are in the west. At a couple of the January shows, Restavrant will be sharing the bill with the side project of J.D. Wilkes of Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Dirt Daubers, and the Two Man Gentleman Band.
-James G Carlson – National Examiner