Beady Eye with Black Box Revelation, House of Blues Boston, Dec 10th - They may have been invited by headline act Beady Eye, through the auspices of station WFNX's "Miracle On Landsdowne Street" concert series, but the opening set by fledgling rockers Black Box Revelation was clearly the highlight of the evening. I am not surprised to learn that musicians Jan Paternoster (guitars) and Dries Van Dijck (drums) hail from Belgium, and not the US: their brand of raw, uninhibited garage-rock continues a legacy which began in the 60's psychedelic-rock era.
Indeed, when the duo began their concise set with the rousing "High On A Wire" they received a boisterous ovation from the crowd, and deservedly so. The track (from their 2010 release Silver Threats) is a thunderous, ridiculously-catchy slice of old fashioned garage which offers a sly musical inference to Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky." Drummer Van Dijck pounded the drum kit like a man possessed, never once losing sync with guitarist Paternoster, whose gnarly, blues-scented vocals were just as impassioned live as on disc.
They followed up with the trenchant "Bitter" and the gloriously snarling "I Think I Like You", whose matter-of-fact lyricism ("Did you ever think twice?/Was I on your mind?/Did you ever get enough, were you satisfied?") perfectly suited the chugging guitar lines and Van Dijck's powerhouse drumming. These guys aren't some "inspired by garage" band - they're the genuine article. And while certain instrumental parts on tracks like the slightly-funky "Love Licks" and the barroom stomp of "Shiver of Joy" were triggered electronically, the duo kept the immediacy and momentum going throughout.
Also impressive were BBR's "My Perception", and the haunting "Sealed With Thorns", whose biblical imagery and anti-war sentiments were cleverly disguised in proto-grunge and classic rock idioms - "Perception" in particular, did a marvelous job of updating the glam-rock atmospherics of T-Rex. When the set ended, many in attendance (myself included) felt gypped out of a well-earned encore song, but at least BBR left the crowd hungry for more - which I could say the same for the predictable Cult-retreads of the main act, Beady Eye: their set was all bluster and blare with little grit or substance. Memo to The Black Keys: you'd better watch your back - Black Box Revelation is poised to break big, and soon.