2018 was always going to be the year where hopes of a triumphant return of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) would materialize after all 2018 is the bands twentieth anniversary and the tenth year since Leah Shapiro joined as the bands’ drummer. BRMC kicked off 2018 in style with a fantastic new album (their first in five years) called Wrong Creatures, whilst the old BRMC formulas were strictly adhered to; they were orchestrated in a refreshing new innovative way helping music lovers to beat the January blues and miserable cold weather. At Kentish Town, the weather was far from cold, in amidst a heatwave London was ill-prepared for (with temperatures reaching 36°c) it was going to be a tough night for BRMC; nonetheless adhering to tradition and to the source of their name, BRMC came out adorned in thick black clothing in true Marlon Brando motorcycle gang style.
There has been much innovation and creativity regarding where to host live music events, the heat which was beyond intense had transformed the Forum into a gigantic sauna. The three-piece opened with Spook, taken from their latest release Wrong Creatures was well received from a sweating and dehydrating audience who still managed to move whilst using flyers as makeshift fans to desperately try and keep cool. Little Thing Gone Wild followed, another new and popular track kept wilting fans in good spirits as did King of Bones. BRMC also played Circus Bazooko, Carried from the Start, All Rise, Echo, Haunt and Question of Faith from Wrong Creatures with good reason, they were all good songs. On the other hand, the choices of lighting BRMC used when performing these tracks was poor. The opening green light was so dim you could barely see the band and fans were almost squinting, whilst at other times, the lighting was too bright and flashing aggressively as if it was a hunter tracking anyone down suffering from epilepsy as its prey.
As well as plugging new material, the classics were not overlooked. Ain’t No Easy Way taken from Howl (when the band added folk and blues elements to their sound) was the first to be played in all its rawness with accompanying harmonica. Stop, BRMC’s only UK top twenty single kept the crowds in halcyon youthful spirit as the heat continued to encroach the Forum as did Shuffle Your Feet, US Government, Six Barrel Shotgun and Rifles. Spread Your Love was exceptionally special, confetti was released into the air and the physical environment no longer mattered, no one was left in their seat but united, dancing and elated to Spread your Love. Following an encore, more hits followed, including, Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll (Punk Song).
Many bands, especially three pieces often use additional touring musicians; BRMC played as a three-piece and took on the Forum and its scorching heat on, on their own. The sound was not finely tuned and the tempo of some of the songs was a couple of BPM slower than the original studio versions; nonetheless the personality and alter ego of BRMC was as omnipotent as ever and their raw sacrosanct charm continued to captivate. These wrong creatures continued to deliver the right sounds in challenging circumstances.