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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Prime Club, Cologne, Germany, 23.2.2002

This is what happened to Rock'N'Roll ( - the wild ones kick-start their machinery in Europe)

Coming on stage at the completely sold out 600-capcity Prime Club after a rousing set from fellow Westcoast Garage Rock fanatics (and Sub Pop recording artists) The Vue, the BRMC made clear from the first second that they ARE the Rock'N'Roll revelation the English press told us they would be. Despite the fact that guitarist Peter Hayes, bass player Robert Turner and substitute drummer Nick Salisbury (ex-The Verve) looked slightly deranged, sick and tired after a triumphant three week stint in Europe that saw them play the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London as handpicked support for Oasis, they still delivered the goods.

Advertised as the band who would pick up where The Strokes and The White Stripes had left off, they tore through their single "Red Eyes And Tears" right at the beginning, leaving all the extras (the acoustic guitars, the keyboards, the harmonicas) from their excellent self-titled debut album behind. Instead they went for the "no prisoners" attitude, delivering a scorching rock n roll show that made them sound (and even look like) the perfect cross between The Jesus And Mary Chain (Robert is sporting exactly the same hairdo as the brothers Reid in the mid 80s) and Spiritualized (Robert Hayes may as well apply for a job as Jason-Spaceman-Lookalike).

Their wall of sound on stage was almost a bit too much to take at times, but then again, their mix of desperation, coolness and maximum volume was quite simply irresistible. Not saying much throughout the evening, Robert announced after only 45 Minutes that they "had one more". But they kept the best for last and left us with a unbelievably hard hitting rendition of their anthemic single "Whatever Happened To My Rock'N'Roll (Punk Song)", that was pure punk rock indeed.

They even returned for an encore, "Salvation". On record, the song is a quite relaxed number, with a slight Gospel feel to it, not dissimilar to Spacemen 3s "Lord, Can You Hear Me?", on stage in Cologne, the B.R.M.C. turned the song into a rollercoaster ride what was absolutely amazing. Turning the song into a feedback-drenched mess that would've made The Jesus And Mary Chain (circa Psychocandy) proud, they tortured the audience's ears and minds for no less than 20 (!) minutes. A pretty sick way of bidding your paying customers farewell, but then again, that's what we came to see and hear!

Peter told us before the show, that this tour only served as an introduction to the band and that they hoped to be back soon once their drummer Nick Jago has sorted out his Visa problems that currently keep him from leaving the US. Well, if this was just the introduction, then what is to follow? A question that's difficult to answer at present. However if somebody asks you: "Whatever happened to your rock'n'roll?", just say: The B.R.M.C. took it and turned it upside down!

Copyright © 2002 Carsten Wohlfeld e-mail address

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