Restavrant, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ O2 Academy, Bristol, 02/11/2017

Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubIt's been a while since this writer visited Bristol's O2 Academy, but tonight it's covered in a familiar coat of shadows and musk. The turnout for San Francisco's Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is geared up in band t-shirts, black leather, and with a draft of beer in one hand. The venue itself is lit only by a red light and the floor is a sticky mess. A sweet-sour smell hits our nostrils as we enter, immediately recalling the sweaty, Carling heyday of live music shows held here in the mid-00s.

That's appropriate because Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have graced this stage more than a few times before, ranging the late 90s to present day. Before the main attraction enter right, it's time for a new band: Californian rockers Restavrant have roots in the Deep South, and the pronunciation of their name escapes even BRMC's Robert Levon Been later in the night.

The bass-driven noise that erupts from the duo is enough to have some audience members burst into a fit of giggles, maybe because it's so unexpected. First of all, there is no bassist. The drummer sits centre-right of the stage with a baseball cap on backward, bobbing around like it's a deck in front of him. The guitar-wielding frontman wears a similarly out-of-place attire but has a harmonica strapped to his face. The sound is a mixture of Rednex versus Seasick Steve. While unique, over time the infectious crunch of the band's music takes over and the crowd warms to this odd ensemble. We can't say they'll be the next big thing, but they're certainly entertaining.

As Restavrant pack up it becomes clear one aspect of the night is not going to echo the schedule of a show in 2003. The lapse between the support band and the headliner is very short. Roadies rush on and off stage as audience members flood the bar, and before you know it, Been approaches the mic. BRMC launch into a deafening set that spans their 19-year-long career and also showcases softer material from their upcoming album, Wrong Creatures, due out early 2018. All is accomplished; all is enthralling, and the gig is charmingly eclectic thanks to the mix.

The audience demographic is equally diverse. Speckled amongst 30-something reverb fans and those who prefer the Americana-meets-gospel style of Howl, are new fans entirely. Some of them can't have been embryos when BRMC first broke through. (Coupled with our own age and the increasingly grey hair of Peter Hayes, this is a bullet point unto itself). We're not sure whether PR has hit the student scene hard, or the band has justifiably acquired the 'oldie but a goodie' status fellow 00s kids have failed to achieve. Judging by the electric atmosphere and energy that exudes from every corner of the O2, we're inclined to believe it's the latter that keeps everyone on their toes throughout the evening.

The sign of a great gig: the following morning and with my ears still ringing, I dust off every Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album I own and stick them in the car. Don't call it a comeback - it's a continuation of greatness.


One Response to “Restavrant, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ O2 Academy, Bristol, 02/11/2017”


  1. Restavrant, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ O2 Academy, Bristol, 02/11/2017 – Live List - 07/11/2017

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