Black Lips w/ the Selmanaires and The Points
The Black Cat, $12
Saturday, September 15th
Let me start by disappointing anyone reading this who thought I was going to write about the Selmanaires and/or The Points. Not going to happen since we didn't catch them. Maybe if Jumboslice had been in attendance he would have convinced us that these two bands that I've never bothered to listen to until right now, were going to be the next big thing -we would have motivated ourselves. But we usually ignore him when he says things like that anyway. Still, Sacklunch suggested the Selmanaires might be worth checking out after he listened to them a bit online. I checked out their stuff just now (as I type), and the first two tracks on their myspace page, "Selmanaire Rock" (terrible name) and "The Air Salesman," were pretty good with a decent synth sound, but their other two tracks were more conventional rock, and I didn't enjoy them much. So I'm not sorry we missed them. It seems like I would have only been half into it. So I guess I lied, I have now written about the Selmanaires. Sorry The Points, you won't be so lucky.
Black Lips returned to the Black Cat to headline this show in front of an unusually rambunctious DC audience. This was our third time seeing this band, and the first where they were headlining a large-ish venue. Since I will be referencing some of them, perhaps the starting line up is in order.
JOE BRADLEY - Vocals & Drums
JARED SWILLEY - Vocals & Bass
IAN St. PE - Guitar
COLE ALEXANDER - Vocals & Guitar
As the headline implies, this time around, Jared Swilley returned to the stage with mustache intact. The photo, courtesy of Jumboslice's earlier post, was from our first viewing of the Atlanta, GA band at the Black Cat in October of 2006. When they performed again in March of 2007, Swilley was sans-stache, and I believe they suffered as a result. Having returned to the Black Cat as headliners, coming off positive reaction to their live album, "Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo," and their September 11th release, "Good Bad Not Evil," Black Lips brought with them a young exuberant following and a higher-than-usual visible security presence on stage.
Cole Alexander seemed more of a commanding presence when he performed last week in comparison to the earlier two shows, when I was under the impression that Swilley was the man in charge. Perhaps this had to do with Alexander's constant spit and catch showmanship in those previous performances, which I don't find particularly slick, or maybe because he was left a bit emasculated by technical problems with his axe last time. These kind of antics don't build my confidence in you as a leader, but this is rock, so maybe it should. With fewer luggie-launches last week, Alexander donned an aqua colored painter's cap and seemed a bit more coherent and in command.
Ian St. Pe continues to look every bit the part of the heavily-sedated clueless-rocker. With his metal-plated teeth, St. Pe looks like a cross between Jaws from James Bond movies and a younger Lou Reed. And on stage, he seems to be cool with the pushing, shoving, spitting, and whatever else was taking place in the pit close to the stage. At one point he intervened when security was about to toss out another fan who had gotten a bit too rowdy. Yelling, "hey, don't kick that guy out," St. Pe went on to say that the ruffian was exactly the kind of guy the Black Lips want at their shows. I hope they have a decent lawyer.
So how was the show? It rocked. In a much needed way, RC finally had some live and lively entertainment after a few weeks of tamer activities. Black Lips rock with reckless abandon, and I found myself quickly heading downstairs to pick up a pair of ear plugs - remember what happened to Pete Townsend? He damaged his hearing after years of rockin out and eventually got caught with kiddie porn. I take that kind of lesson to heart. Ear plugs are sold out of a bubble gum machine downstairs at the Black Cat for 50 cents. The machine is tricky to operate, so be prepared to look more drunk than you might actually be, if it's your first time. (Where have I heard that before?) It was great to see an active crowd getting busy with the garage rock at the Black Cat. That should be encouraged.
I also enjoyed watching the skinny greasy bouncer leap off the stage to help the pear-shaped quasi-Asian guy (let's call him Grimace) and some other security dude hustle a guy out on to the street. Inspired by an episode of Cops we were watching at RockClubHouse before the show, I followed the scrum down the stairs and to the door just in time to see/hear Grimace tell the guy to "Go back to Virginia!" Clearly some hard feelings still exist for our confederate neighbor.
And where was Jumboslice during this excellent show? I think he was mixing Jaeger and Roaring Lion at RFK for a bachelor party... All I know is that RC x 3/4 rocked out and partied until 2:30am that night... I'm just saying...
I found an interesting video report on the Black Lips from their performance at SXSW. Check it out if you have 8 minutes. These guys are paying their dues.
Friday, September 21, 2007