Live - B.R.M.C. At Chicago's Rock & Roll Landmark, The Empty Bottle

Last night, The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rolled into the Windy City for a Monday night double header at The Bottle. I had seen the band previously at the much larger Vic Theater last year and the chance to see them in the most intimate of settings was not one to pass up. When I rolled up to the venue, a small, brick-walled, punk rock club on Chicago's West Side, a line wrapped around the corner and down the block. It began slowly moving around 7:15 for a 7:30 show, due to an extended sound check that we could all hear crystal clear from our vantage point in the street. The band snuck onto the stage around 8:00, turned up the reverb, and embarked on what would be the first of two sold-out gigs.

Perched atop the stage in their trademark all-black rock star duds, B.R.M.C. pulled the majority of their set from their forthcoming Virgin album, Take Them On, On Your Own. The album is set for release on September 2, but there's a lucky few who have the advance and thankfully, I'm one of them. The new album explodes with the same retro psychedelic rock as the band's highly acclaimed self-titled debut. Hooks are a bit more scarce on the forthcoming album than the debut, but in a live setting, I didn't notice. The new single, "Stop," as well as others that you'll be hearing soon ("Six Barrel Shotgun," "In Like The Rose," etc.), were invigorated by the live energy of the room and seeing them performed live definitely gave me a new appreciation for Take Them On, On Your Own. However, it was the Joy Division-esque driving baseline of "Rise Or Fall" that was the highlight of the evening for me. That song rules!

"Red Eyes And Tears," "Love Burns," and of course "What Ever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll" were stand outs from the band's debut and showed how powerful and popular the band have become, as I spied many faces in the crowd singing along to most of the older songs. I pondered hiding in the bathroom and sneaking into the late show, but instead I hightailed it on over to catch local legend Dorian Taj in a very intimate unplugged performance at the Hideout.

Thanks to Mr. Howard P. for the tix!

Photos by Nikola Blichfeld

Live - B.R.M.C. At Chicago's Rock & Roll Landmark, The Empty Bottle