Black Rebel Motorcycle Club ::: Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas ::: 02.15 & 02.16

C=T contributor, Molly Müeller, played her hot hand last week and caught BRMC X 2! Talk about some people getting ALL OF THE LUCK.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Done All Wrong [mp3]

Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
February 15th & 16th, 2011
It’s 3:45 pm on Tuesday, February 15th and I’ve made my way through the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s casino
to find the venue where Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, an indie rock trio comprising of Robert Been,
Leah Shapiro and Peter Hayes, is going to perform that night. The show for this night was billed as
V.I.P. so I figured there must be an actual room in the casino somewhere for live acts. I hear the band
doing sound check and follow the sound to the Book and Stage Bar, an open bar that’s in the middle
of the casino and featured a horrible cover band the previous night. Interesting! The stage is tiny and
the closest seat you can get to the stage is sitting at the big circular bar in front of a video poker game.
As it turns out, this is the “venue” and the shows are free to anyone who wants to watch and as a
promotional follow up to The Cosmopolitan commercials that feature BRMC’s “Spread Your Love.” This
seems like an odd place to see a band that normally plays at approximately 100 decibels. While I play
a game of video poker and eat some random bar food I see blackjack dealers, cocktail waitresses and
other hotel staff walk towards the stage scowling and plugging their ears. They should be ecstatic once
the show actually starts.
The show started around 10pm and there was somewhat of a V.I.P. section: all of the stools at the
bar and the couches towards the back of the bar. I positioned my self as close to the stage as I could
by leaning against a friendly fan’s barstool. The first song was “Took out a Loan,” which is a song they
rarely open with. This was followed by a somber rendition of “Red Eyes and Tears” and by this time
I’ve noticed that the sound is actually pretty good! I’ve seen BRMC in several different venues and the
limitations of this site did not affect the sound at all. I think everyone in attendance was impressed.
By the time “Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song)” a large crowd had surrounded the
bar area and people were spilling out into the gambling areas; about 30 people back in any direction
you looked. The next two songs were crowd favorites “Berlin” and “Weapon of Choice,” even these
commanding tracks sounded crisp on the sound system. There was an energetic performance of my
favorite song, “Six Barrel Shotgun” followed by “Spread Your Love” (the crowd went wild for this one
given the commercial exposure) and the show was rounded up with “Shadows Keeper;” which featured
an exciting light show that included the requisite strobe lights. Everyone who came for the show was
thrilled and I assumed most would be back for the second show the following night.
The second night it was more difficult for me to get to a prime location at the bar to watch the show but
with some friendly chat and soft persuasion I was able to again get a spot at the bar, although this time
I had to stand the whole time. The stage set up, etc were exactly the same as the night before and the
show started around 10:20pm. Again there was a large crowd gathered around the bar area and there
seemed to be new people in attendance along with all of the people who showed up the previous night.
They opened with “War Machine” went on to the old school “Stop.” “Ain’t No Easy Way” sounded funny
because there wasn’t any harmonica; in fact Peter Hayes apologized for the lack of harmonica since it
is a significant element in the song. Apparently the harmonica was thrown into the crowd in Moscow,
the last stop of their recent European tour and hasn’t been replaced. No one really seemed to mind but
it did sound strange. This was followed by “White Palms” and “Shade of Blue,” two songs that aren’t
played live very often. My favorite of the evening was “Aya” from Beat the Devils Tattoo. The song
starts out with some tricked out bass by Robert Been and distorted pedal work by Peter. Peter sings this
song so intensely most of the crowd is silent or just trying to sing along. This second evening included a
lot more songs than the first night including Robert’s heartfelt version of “Dirty Old Town” (a folk song
written by Ewan MacColl in 1949) and “Conscience Killer,” probably the second best song to see live
from the most recent album Beat the Devil’s Tattoo after “Aya.” They played more obscure songs as
well, however “Shadow’s Keeper” completed the performance again. I think any BRMC fan that showed
up felt like a free show from BRMC on a strange little stage in the middle of a casino was just as fulfilling
as a full production show in the larger venues they typically sell out. I know I was impressed.

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