Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with The Duke Spirit, Manchester Academy 05.11.10

  • A music feature by Charis
  • Published on December 9th, 2010 at 8:58p.m.

After a less-than-sprightly trek across the pennines to a freezing and foggy Manchester on an unassuming Sunday night, us few audience members at the Academy huddled together towards the stage in our coats and scarves- hoping that what was to come may provide us some respite from the biting temperatures of recent.

The winter leg of the ‘Beat the Devil’s Tattoo’ Tour was supported by our very own The Duke Spirit, eager to showcase long-awaited new material. You could feel the room positively light up with the arrival of Leila Moss, all cheekbones and leather clad, jumping straight into crowd pleaser ‘The Step and the Walk’.

It was an impassioned performance from the group with Moss taking her rightful place in centre stage, but it was only seven songs long- not anywhere near long enough for a band of this caliber.

New material from the Spirit sounded fantastic, with a move away from the soulful sound of Neptune, and a return to the rockier roots of Cuts Across The Land. After hearing the material from the Kasuma EP, the expected ‘Bruiser’ album will be a very welcome release.

After the usual break between bands the room finally filled up as fans crammed towards the stage, with an unlikely opener from BRMC in the form of ‘666 Conducer’. The set was an interesting one from the band, playing songs they missed from the earlier summer tour, and bonuses from the band by playing live favourites the haunting Poe poem ‘Annabel Lee’ and sing-a-long Pogues classic ‘Dirty Old Town’.

Even at ten minutes long and with sparse lyrics, ‘Half State’ was mesmerising, and I felt lucky to have seen them perform a song that would have been unlikely to be played at one of the more “crowd pleasing” shows.

The set was definitely a set for true fans, Black Rebel purists, rather than those new to the three piece. This being said, the crowd really relished old favourites like ‘Ain’t No Easy Way’ and ‘Spread Your Love’.

If I saw Peter Hayes down the street, I think I’d be tempted to hand him my spare change, but the man’s musical genius is undeniable, and this set really showcased the breadth of the band’s styles and talents, with songs from their latest offering sounding as good as anything from 'B.R.M.C.'.

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