Without a doubt, this was the gig that most Greek fans of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have been waiting for since 2004. In June of that year, a couple of weeks before everybody in the country would be celebrating the unbelievable conquest of the Euro Football Championship by the National team, the whole of the local alternative nation was celebrating in a field outside of Athens the second coming of the Pixies. The indie rock heroes were then on their first triumphant reunion tour and Rockwave Festival had the privilege to have them as headliners on its fourth day. The band that kicked off the festivities early that day, under the unforgiving sun of the Greek summer, was none other than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Unfortunately, although the San Francisco trio was then at its prime, it hadn’t established a big enough following in Greece just yet to get the festival slot it rightfully deserved. As a result of this unfortunate timing, the band’s appearance early in the afternoon of a very hot day was sparsely attended while the few who did manage to be there on time were hardly able to enjoy themselves.
Fast forward a decade later, and finally Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are back for their first indoor gig in Greece. The venue this time was a big club at the center of Athens that’s usually used for other type of shows; the kind where the bouzouki and not the electric guitar is the instrument of choice. It is however the venue where Interpol played their one and only Athenian gig, so it is starting to create an interesting rock history of its own (just an idea, but maybe someone should try to get The Strokes to play here in order to complete this unfinished '00s rock trilogy).
This time, instead of a few hundred the attendance was closer to three thousand, a number that certainly made an impression to the band. As Robert Levon Been admitted after the band had played the first few songs and a mosh pit had started going at the front rows, they didn’t know what to expect since they hadn’t played here for so long, but the turn out and participation of the fans was quite a pleasant surprise for them.
And the thoroughly satisfying two hour set that we got in return was certainly a pleasure for us, as we were finally able to enjoy live some of our favorite B.R.M.C. songs from all their albums, from their classic 2001 debut through to last year’s "Specter at the Feast", including "Spread Your Love", "Red Eyes and Tears", "Stop", "Six Barrel Shotgun", "Berlin", "American X", "Beat the Devil's Tattoo", "Hate the Taste" and, of course, a storming rendition of "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)" at the encore, their signature tune. Strange they didn’t choose to end the show with that song as the only way to do something more impressive after that, would be to trash the stage and literally set it on fire! They closed with "Sell It" instead and the promise to come back for more soon.
On the evidence of the enthusiasm shown by the crowd and band’s excellent form although this was the end of a long tour, it would certainly be silly on the part of the promoters if they didn’t make sure to call them back much sooner this time. An undeniable victory for the power rock trio in an era where computers have the upper hand over guitars.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's complete set list: Let the Day Begin (The Call cover), Rival, Beat the Devil's Tattoo, Hate the Taste, Ain't No Easy Way, Berlin, Returning, American X, White Palms / I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier (John Lennon cover), Conscience Killer, Lose Yourself, In Like the Rose, Stop, Red Eyes and Tears, Six Barrel Shotgun, Spread Your Love.
Encore: Complicated Situation, Mercy, Shuffle Your Feet, Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song), Sell It.
B.R.M.C. - Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song), live @ Acro Live Stage, Athens