Black Box Revelation @ The Wiltern

Black Box Revelation | The Wiltern (Los Angeles, CA) | December 3, 2011 |

File this under “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Not that there’s anything stupid about Black Box Revelation. On the contrary, they’re downright brilliant. Brilliant because they’ve figured out and put into execution the most economical band dynamic and the end result truly does not suck. For ten years and three albums, Belgium’s Jan Paternoster (vocals/guitar) and Dries Van Dijck (drums/percussion) have been under the greater radar of American eyes; no foul there because the European theater is notorious for scoping out the truly awesome shit long before the U.S. gets a clue.

Fortunately Los Angeles can notch its collective belt as “clued in” as Black Box Revelation schooled the occupants at the famed Wiltern Theater (who came to see Beady Eye aka the Liam Gallagher show) on the fervent art of efficient garage rock and electric festive blues. Supporting their latest release, My Perception, Black Box Revelation ripped off one raw head-bobber after another and, while one guy on drums and another on guitar can easily yield limited possibilities, Paternoster and Van Dijck dropped the full force of their musicianship on the room.

Tall, lanky, and soft-spoken, Paternoster bore the weight of angular, cutting vocals and all rhythm and lead electric sounds to the point where you might swear there was at least one additional guitarist on stage but no; it was all him, the rig at his feet, and the masterful use of his hands while Van Dijck bashed with the enthusiasm of a 12-year old and the control of one three times that age. Compare them to the Black Keys all you want, and there are worse bands to be compared to, but Van Dijck is no Pat Carney. Van Dijck’s percussive beat chaos is backed up with creating fills of depth and precision rather than reckless abandon. Set list staple “Bitter” came across like a sonic barroom brawl with Van Dijck using maracas to pound his tom and “Love Licks” was that slinking, sexual thing of dark guitar chords that pushed the hips of several women in the general admission pit. Black Box Revelation make it easy to suss out the plot of their intentions: it’s rock purity that feels like a good time and gets the ladies moving, but it’s also strikingly crafted to evoke true feelings.

They closed their set with “Sealed With Thorns” which begins as a maudlin telling of headlessness and suffering, but once they crossed the lyrical threshold, on came the crush of some of the grittiest rock soaked in Delta blues you’ve ever heard. The kind that was borderline hypnotic, made you lean into it, and as some dude damn near forsook his $14 beer (the Beady Eye Special = 12 oz. beer plus a shot of Jameson) in order to vocalize his approval and throw up the metal horns hand sign ala Ronnie James Dio, you knew that the Los Angeles crowd officially had gotten a clue who Black Box Revelation was.

– Trina Green