Friday, September 12, 2008


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Great American Music Hall, S.F.
September 9, 2008

On the afternoon of the show I had an interesting phone call that might signal the next phase in Umlaut's professional life. We will see... So it was perfect that I had a Rock show that night to pay my allegiance to the Rock Godz... but too bad it wasn't a Metal show 'cause that would have been more appropriate.

In typical surgically precise fashion, Timo and I walked into the venue after the opening act had finished and only minutes before BRMC hit the stage. It's taken us years of training to become the professionals that we are...

Early in the set I said to myself that if the band played 'Rifles' (a song they haven't included in their set in at least a couple years) the night wouldn't be a loss. I had to wait 2 hours, but the band did indeed bust out 'Rifles' at approximately 11:30PM as the first song of their encore... PLUS it was not listed on the printed setlist so I assume it was a spontaneous choice. Nice.

For those who care, the setlist was:
  • 666 Conducer
  • Berlin
  • Weapon Of Choice
  • Ain't No Easy Way
  • White Palms
  • Killing The Light
  • Awake
  • Six Barrel Shotgun
  • Salvation
  • Heart + Soul
  • "New Song" (The Absent on the setlist)
  • Too Real
  • "New Song" (Pretend on the setlist, but introduced as The Knife onstage)
  • Chelsea Hotel (Leonard Cohen cover)
  • Not What You Wanted
  • Shuffle Your Feet
  • Howl
  • "New Song" (River Styx on the setlist)
  • American X
  • All You Do Is Talk
  • Rifles
  • Took Out A Loan
  • The Show's About To Begin
  • Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll
  • Steal A Ride
  • Spread Your Love
However, I believe I have a legitimate gripe because the show was billed as "Electric" (the previous night was the "Acoustic" show) BUT in a case of false advertisement the band veered into a 4-song acoustic set. WTF... I was annoyed since, to be honest, I'm not really a fan of BRMC when they're acoustic 'cause it brings out their pretentious side... which tends to happen alot with people who always wear black (guilty!). Plus, they could have played 4 of their "classic" electric songs that they didn't include in the setlist... Like 'In Like A Rose'.. 'Love Burns'... Oh well.. I complain 'cause I still care... I guess.

During the acoustic interlude, I wandered over to the merch table to get the 'Berlin' 7" single (red vinyl... natch!).. As I turned around after my purchase, Jello Biafra walked past me.. and when the band plugged back in, Jello was down front again standing to my right... rockin' out.. Jello... rockin' out... Discuss amongst yourselves.

Timo and I couldn't help but notice how BRMC's fanbase has changed over the years. There were an inordinate number of drunk chicks stumbling around on a Tuesday night, and a drunk couple in the balcony did the awkward drunk dance / pelvis grind with each other even during the acoustic songs. Kids, next time please get a room or at least some sense of rhythm... Thanks. As if to symbolize this shift, neither of Umlaut's original BRMC allies (The Sheriff and Miatomic) were at the show. Whatever happened to my Rock N' Roll?

Oh yeah, BRMC have a new drummer to replace Nick Jago; a chick named Leah. IMO the drummer has always been BRMC's weak link onstage due to unimaginative to non-existent fills.. so I was hopeful that a new drummer would interject some, like, DRUMMING into their live experience. However, while the new drummer did seem to have more power behind her sticks than Jago (Note to Nick Jago: Dude! A girl is a better drummer than you! Get your shit together, man..), she still kept it basic with unimaginative to non-existent fills.. which made me realize that BRMC as a band are unimaginative when it comes to their beat.. which was kinda like an epiphany to me.

The last time I saw BRMC was almost a year ago to the day when the Kings Of Leon blew them off the stage, so I suppose this 2 1/2 hour set delivered on the value for money side... and moments of the night did remind me why I was once teenage girl-screaming fanatical about this band, but it wasn't the best BRMC performance I've seen (that would still be The Catalyst, Santa Cruz in 2004)... BUT they did play 7 songs off their debut album... Oh well, call me jaded.. I complain 'cause I still care... I guess.

Scorecard: According to the Umlaut Archives, this was my 9th time seeing BRMC and my 29th visit to the GAMH dating back to 1992. Yes, I keep score... it's on an Excel spreadsheet... I think it's about 90% accurate documenting every concert I've attended since losing my gig cherry in 1978. The Geeks shall inherit The Earth.

The guy at the merch table was wearing a Scorpions hoodie, which I complimented him on. If you bought one of every BRMC merch item you would have paid $113. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I wish there had been a Metal show in town on this night instead.