Long live rock, I need it every night

Friday, March 21, 2008

The. Black. Lips.

"These guys at times seem borderline retarded but both their music and their words have a charming simplicity about them. Any band that hates hippies can't be all bad."
- quote by Jimbromski (proud Hippie Hater) on 12/03/2007

This marked the 5th time Rock Club has seen Black Lips. It also was my official Rock Club going away "party". I use quotes because simply inviting Chip Chanko along makes for a dubious party. Nonetheless, I seized on this opportunity to drink heavily. The result: I had a great time but don't really recall a whole lot of specifics . Fortunately, I was alert enough to take some cryptic notes on my cell phone and befriend two random super fans. Here's what I could cobble together from my faulty memory.

Opening for the Black Lips were Quintron and Ms. Pussycat. Hailing from New Orleans, Quintron plays a big ass organ/synthesizer while Ms. Pussycat and a second woman sing and shake their maracas (literally and figuratively). In addition to the organ he plays another "instrument" called The Drum Buddy. It's a little something he invented, patented, and is the sole person licensed to play it. Death comes to all others who try to operate it. Check it:

Q and Ms. P's performance is quite showy, raucous, and a lot of fun. A large number of kids were there (as evidenced by the big X's on their hands) and they ate this freaky shit up. There was an unusual amount of dancing and moshing for an opening band. They closed with a bizarre yet amusing puppet show. It was a delight for those who had smoked copious amounts of weed before the show. I didn't exactly follow the storyline but it involved modern art, Santa, semi-automatic rifles, and puppies.

First thing I noticed when Black Lips came onstage: The Mustache had returned! Jared Swilley was once again sporting the most glorious lip tickler in all of rock. I was very pleased. I'm convinced it has magically powers. The last time I saw them, Jared was sans 'stache and I felt like something was amiss. [side note: my favorite new phrase is "smacked him in the mustache".]

Black Lips wasted no time diving right into their most loved and rocking tunes. They played "Bad Kids", "Katrina", and "Boomerang" at the very beginning of the set. Sacklunch felt they blew their wad too early and should have saved a few of those songs for the end or encore. [Another side note: Lack of forethought in set lists is something we see too often. Sacklunch, frustrated by this and buoyed by his mad mix tape making skills, is founding a new company called "Bestest Setlist". He has offered his services to Black Lips free of charge.] I agree those songs would've been good closers but it didn't matter too much. The crowd was into the show from start to finish.

At the show I was standing next to Lucinda and Amy. I noticed they knew the words for each song and looked like they were having the time of their lives. So I asked if they had seen Black Lips before. The answer: Over the past year Lucinda has seen Black Lips perform 26 times and Amy has seen 31 shows. Read that last sentence again. We haven't seen that type of dedication since Phish stopped touring (they stopped touring, right?). It's impressive but it doesn't shock me. The band inspires an enthusiasm unseen in indie rock. Black Lips play straight up rock and roll. Their shows are guaranteed fun.

Back to Lucinda and Amy. How did these sisters become such big fans? They saw Black Lips 5 times at SXSW last year and were hooked. They traveled for the shows up in NYC and Philly prior to coming to DC. I emailed and asked their favorite part of this particular show. For Amy it was "Too Much In Love" by the King Khan and BBQ Show while Lucinda enjoyed the Chuck Berry cover "Too Much Monkey Business". We in Rock Club love a good cover. Why don't more bands work this into their live show? Maybe Sacklunch can add smart cover songs to the list of services offered by Bestest Setlist.

Anytime I hear a Chuck Berry song I'm reminded of Michael J. Fox playing "Johnny B. Goode" in Back To the Future. Notice the obvious lip syching:

"Chuck! Chuck, it's your cousin MAR-vin Berry!"

Okay, this review is way too long and already overdue. I'm going into list mode for the rest of the highlights:

- Ian St. Pe (the best name in rock) looked like a hip-hop hillbilly with his trucker hat and gold teeth.
- Some woman hopped onstage and macked with Ian.
- Bassist Jared Swilley then made out with guitarist Cole Alexander. Or was it Ian? Someone help me out here.
- After the show we chatted with The Rockist Society. This was the first time we've met the guys in person. They're like a younger, better looking version of Rock Club. Bastards.
- The owner of the Black Cat, Dante Ferrando, was positioned on the right hand speaker stack, penlight in hand, for the entire Black Lips set. He seemed extremely concerned about the crowd. He clearly didn't want things to get out of control. I saw him sprint backstage before the encore. I'm curious what he said to the band. I'm guessing it was something along the lines of "Make this encore quick!".
- They wasted little time returning to the stage for an encore. They played "Veni Vidi Vici."
- Go here for some great pictures from this show.


Jumbo Slice said...

Jimbromski just let me know that it was Ian and Cole kissing, not Jared and Cole.

rob said...

It was Ian and Cole, as Jumbo and Jimbro suggest. That image is forever burned in my memory...

Anonymous said...

DC's loss is Austin's gain!

God, that was cheesy.

Anonymous said...

I don't know - I think having a moustache is a very hipster-esque thing to do...

KCG said...

I'm lovin the camo tank with the bright orange short shorts in the pic of the Lips. Jumbo - I think you need to rock that look in Austin.

Speaking of which, they don't have Jumboslice in Austin, so maybe you'll need to change your screen name to something like Tacodeli or Brisketbasket.