It’s either silly or wonderful that I still get so excited about seeing bands. That was my thought last night as I was sitting at a little round table in The Green Room at Seattle’s Showbox at the Market, waiting to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club again after an 18-month absence. The cheeseburger and fries I was nervously mowing through entitled me to get a numbered card, which gives first-in rights when the club opens for the night. This would be my 5th time seeing the band, and I really wanted that front-row spot. They are one of my major favorites, and I was willing to stand and stand and stand to be able to stand some more and get some good photos/vids and take in the big blast of sound and vision up close. OOH! #2! THAT ME! In I went, and I got my spot, next to the same people from the last time at the Showbox. BRMC fans are loyal.

Camera? Check. Water? Check. Hearos? Check. The only thing I didn’t have that would be helpful was one of those lady-urine-catcher things, since you just cannot leave a front-row spot to go to the bathroom and expect it to be there when you get back. You know the thing I mean?

Oh, I’m kidding. That would be really disgusting to use at a show, or really really really really really really really PUNK ASS, but I guess I am not either of those so much. I’ll hold it.

After not-too-long of a wait, the first opening band started up. The Hounds Below told us that they were from Detroit, had just driven in from Las Vegas, and boy, were they tired, but still they put on a very well-received set. Most of them looked to be about 17 years old (well, to me, anyway), but played surprisingly-diverse material that told me they had done some good musical history homework, grabbing good sounds from all of rock’s eras seamlessly. It worked. Hmm, I thought, how’d they do that? Answer: lead singer/guitarist Jason Stollsteimer fronted The Von Bondies, and is also known for being the guy who got into a punch-up with Jack White. Oh, Detroit!

The Whigs, a trio from Athens Gee Aye was up next:

Parker Gispert — guitar, lead vocals, keyboard

Julian Dorio — drums

and Tim Deaux on bass and guitar.

Heh. Anyway, Eb, Animal, and Jesus Whig put out a LOT of energy, with a definite Southern Kings-Of-Leon-type flavor. I don’t know that their songs came off as quite memorable enough – there was plenty of rock, but not a ton of HOOK or anything that distinguished them enough out of the pack. That said, I did enjoy their set, as did this older guy who made his way front and center in his black leather jacket, Iron Maiden t-shirt, drinking can after can of Pabst.

Epic Maiden Man was throwing out the devil horns sign and headbanging and yelling with such classic rock fervor that he became the show, to the bemusement of both the audience and The Whigs. Before he apparently drifted off to a Drunken Metal Coma, he got his bro slap from Parker Gispert, which was completely Epic. We salute you, Epic Maiden Man!

During the set-up for BRMC, a pretty young thing with fuchsia lipstick spilled beer on me. A LOT of beer. TWICE. It stunk like the kind of beer that someone had thrown up without it spending much time in the stomach, just enough, and in fact I did check to see that it was not puke. She apologized profusely, and I gave her no trouble for it because she had come all the way from Utah to see the band, was on very high heels, and was wearing a really cute jacket. It wasn’t puke, right? Sigh.

In mere days, BRMC’s new album, “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo,” will be officially released, almost three years since the incredibly cool, sexy, and rock Baby 81. Since 2007, BRMC has also released a live DVD/CD, and an instrumental album called The Effects of 333, the latter of which sounded more or less like this:

“Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” is a return to what BRMC does best – their particular combination of bedrock American blues and folk + The Jesus and Mary Chain + a little Brian Jonestown Massacre (which makes sense, as BRMC’s Peter Hayes was once a BJM member) + well….ooohhhhh. You know what I mean. Ooohhhhh is that intangible thing that gets your adrenalin going, makes you take notice and makes you stay. BRMC has lots of ooohhhhh factor. My take on the new album is that it is solid – good, very good in spots. It is perhaps a reflection of the crap they got for 333, although certainly that release was never meant to replace a traditional record. In the end, fans pretty much like to hear songs like the ones they already like by the band. “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” is not a re-tread as much as BRMC making a decent attempt at doing something people will like, and hanging on to their fanbase in a very harsh musical climate.

Set list helps me plan my vids. Thank you.

See that thing with the glowing green LED? This is Peter Hayes’ new stage gadget. Just a few toetaps, and each song in the set pops up, assumably preset effects for his guitars. It was so…orderly!

The band comes on to deafening applause, and goes to 11. Here’s “Love Burns,” the opening track from BRMC’s first self-titled album, released in 2001. My only complaint with being right at the stage is that it was hard to hear the vocals somewhat. But WE GOT GUITAR!

I was glad that they played plenty of new material. So many times, a live performance adds such power and depth. Here’s the new album’s title track, already a fan favorite as seen by the crowd reaction. It’s fun to sing along with, too.

I took a lot of photos, which is work, but it didn’t stop me from being in the music. I love those songs, and even if I am behind a camera I am mindful that I am there to experience a performance, not simply document it. I think this is often forgotten now in the age of cell phone cams and the ease of digital photography. The best moments in the shows I sometimes do not catch, but I have come to be OK with that over the years. I am busy watching and thinking and ROCKING. And hoping I don’t have puke on me. No. Wasn’t puke. No way.

My little damn camera does pretty well, considering. No good shots of drummer Leah Shapiro – I always seem to be in the wrong spot to catch her. But please to enjoy Peter Hayes and Robert Been. More on Flickr.

“Ain’t No Easy Way” from 2005’s Howl, a more acoustic country/blues sound from BRMC, and when I first heard of them. Sorry for the strobe freak out. My little damn camera isn’t a miracle worker, ya know.

It was a good set from the band – more smiles on the member’s faces than I recall before. They have plenty of reasons to smile, ooohhhhh factor included. It will be very interesting for me to see them again in April, a month into the tour and the new material, and in a different city. WATCH THIS SPACE.

After the show, I grabbed another water, downed it, and even waited to use the bathroom until I got home at 1:15AM. Epic, silly, and wonderful. Thanks, The Hounds Below, The Whigs, and BRMC!