Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / The Rapture Kool Haus, Toronto ON - April 7, 2004

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has garnered a reputation as a band of bleary-eyed gadabouts slinging their equipment from town to town before during and after the release of an album. Yet, judging by this, BRMC's third Toronto gig in the past ten months, the band is dangerously close to presenting a trite curate's egg of a live show that may have even the most loyal fan growing jaded. Along with the confidence and taut musicianship gained through incessant touring, the band showed symptoms of the malaise and artistic indifference that come with playing the same songs over and over. Bassist Robert Turner didn't just play the bass well, he, to borrow an old metal adage, "grabbed the bitch by the neck and made her scream." Drummer Nick Jago keeps time more than adequately. Pete Hayes has the swirling, distorted cacophony down, generating dangerous levels of volume from a single guitar. But we've heard it all before, several times. And so, apparently, has the band, dipping into a torpid mid-set marred by dragging tracks like "Rifles," from their debut album. For an encore they even resorted to an acoustic set, debuting a new song and rehashing "Love Burns" unplugged before finishing off with "Whatever Happened to My Rock'n'Roll." The response to which should prove that fans like the band far better as a noisy, unpredictable rock act. To their credit, co-headliners the Rapture offered high-energy moments of funk-punk brilliance devalued only by their inability to produce actual songs. Using chanted choruses, drum machines and errant instrumentation, the band played extended jams that teetered so close to a Robert Smith-fronted brand of freestyle you feared they may break into Lil' Suzy's "Take Me In Your Arms" at any moment, which may have been nice, but "House of Jealous Lovers" did just fine.