The title “Most Rock ‘n Roll Band in Rock ‘n Roll” still belongs to The Black Crowes, but I’d like to present Black Rebel Motorcycle Club a (stolen) 2nd place trophy. Without really saying much between songs, BRMC commanded the stage last Saturday at the Culture Room. Drummer, Nick Jago, boomed an extra bass drum for added lows and instead of ringing hi-hats, we heard the British guitar sound of Peter Hayes on the right reverbing through his amps. It was amazing how easily Hayes switched gears from rhythm chords to bending notes in the verses. Lead singer, Robert Levon Been, who sang from stage right, fought for the lead with his 4 string bass. Blaring behind him were two 6’x3’ speaker boxes that looked like they were made in a rock & roll monster garage. BRMC's studio recording may be complex, but that complexity isn't faked in concert, and for all the amps, it's the human factor that is at the core of their music. BRMC opened up with Baby 81 songs such as "Took Out a Loan" and “Weapon of Choice” Most of the stuff was new. They saved any of the most popular old stuff for when people requested them in the encore.
The trio, Dead Combo opened the night like two street racers running side by side. It looked like the drummer, Leah was struggling to keep up, but never fell behind. Unexpectedly, singer/guitarist Harri Kupiainen unplugged and left the stage after about five songs. It’s just as well as the keyboard-tambourine loop behind them kept them on pace, but prevented the songs from changing speeds, and they were repetitive anyway.
The Cobbs, (formally known as Ty Cobb and Mad Action), were up second playing songs from their album, Sing the Deathcapades. Chris Coello, the drummer was driving through songs and chain smoking his cigarettes in typical badass fashion. The tall bassist, Maxwell Lee, watched over the band like he was keeping them in line. Ryan Smith the sometimes keyboardist sounded better playing guitar and backing up the front man’s rhythm guitar. They played one song with acoustic guitar but it threw off the sound guy though, and by the end of the song they had to switch back to electric anyway. At least, they sounded better live than the songs on their MySpace page. –Ken Scott