My knowledge of the Black Lips starts at stops with their 2007 release Good Bad Not Evil. Well, until last night at Logan Square Auditorium that is, when myself and 700 others had our skulls opened and brains punched by rock n roll via the Atlanta act.
The Black Lips came out swinging, raining haymaker songs and Budweiser cans on the pogo-and-punching crowd. The first chorus hadn’t been reached by the time kids were jumping onstage and then to the crowds supporting hands.
The third song hurtled from the bass of Jared Swilley and a bright, white light from below washed over the band members. Joe Bradley’s relentless, thundering, Animal-esque drumming had the lighting rig above the stage swaying back and forth. Or maybe that was the crowd.
Then they ripped through a song that I believe contained the name “Amanda” and then the lights went out and a lava lamp was projected from the back of the auditorium across the band members for “O Katrina!”
Allow me to step back and draw the scene for you quickly (“Paint a picture with your words, Matt.”). Not a single minute without shoes, beer cans, hats, and/or keys in the air. The projectiles were as likely to come from the stage as they were to land on it, and the same can be said for the crowd. The crowd surfing was never-ending; Swilley and guitarist/vocalist Cole Alexander did some of their own as they played.
The band launched into their sixth song of the night and the people in front decided it was time to go on stage. I could barely pick out the band members in the mass of ironic clothing, but the band stayed tight through to the end of the song. After everyone was ushered off the stage, the guys tuned up and acted as if nothing had happened. (This scene would repeat itself later in the set to the tune of “Bad Kids.”)
Overall, it was a rowdy, great show. The Black Lips seem to give every song their all. While many garage-punk/rock acts can find their sound muddled live, the Black Lips guitar tones pierce through the thunderous foundation of sound laid down by the bass and drums.
I will leave you with the words shouted by a girl from somewhere over my shoulder, sometime near the end of the show. “My head is spinning! I don’t feel so good!” Mission accomplished, Black Lips.