photos by Dylan Johnson, words by Bree Roberts
Black Lips, and their documentary, are on tour, and the band played a show at Music Hall Of Williamsburg on Monday November 4th with Subsonics and Weird Womb, before hitting up Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday 5th November with Tweens and Habibi. Pictures from the Manhattan show are in this post, but I was at the one in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn punks Weird Womb opened the show. They amused the crowd with their self-deprecating humor and between song quips, "Lets do Four Loko and Five Hour Energy drinks- it's a Four By Five!", but singer Dakota seemed mostly keen to just get off stage. This made more sense later, as I learned the guitarist had no voice and should have been at home drinking lemon tea.
Described as "the best band in Atlanta" by the Black Lips-and chosen for this show and others on the tour by the band specifically for that reason- Subsonics, who remind me a little of the always awesome 'The Gories', came out like a surf punk garage noir dream, and rocked it out for their whole set. My personal favorite band for the night, Subsonics killed it with songs from their new release 'In The Black Spot' (Slovenly Recordings)- 'Too Damaged' rocked, as did the older hit "Frankenstein". Singer Clay Reed was definitely channeling the late Lou Reed a little tonight with his vocals and stance, and the crowd was more than receptive. Subsonics have been around since the early 90s and hopefully with more exposure will gain the recognition they so clearly deserve.
The venue packed to capacity as the Black Lips came on stage. The last time I saw them was Halloween 2011 at Webster Hall with Puerto Rican rockers Davila 666- who are no longer active. I don't remember much of that shit show, because I was wasted like most of everyone else I know that was in attendance (including the bands) - but from what I recall- they played technically better tonight. 'Dirty Hands' was a bright light sing along for the entire room, and 'Bad Kids' will always be a crowd surfing highlight. Even the fluffy haired, leopard print fur coated Bebe Buell copycat groupies that were endlessly pushing in front of me knew the lyrics to that one. The only criticism with Black Lips is that they keep getting better, smoother, more shiny- less Black Lips! The stage antics they built their reputation on are over. Black Lips are all grown up now, ironically on Vice Records, and in case you didn't notice- Vice is all grown up now too. The old school antics are gone. They're Beastie Boys gone from talking about your Right To Party to talking about Buddhism. I'm not hating, everyone needs to pay their bills. As a reviewer though; it does make for a less interesting show. Nobody got their dick out, nobody pee-ed, it was post-garage punk by numbers; delightfully inoffensive rocknroll. Very "nice"- your mom would have loved it. I quite liked it too.
More pictures from the Bowery show, wild crowd included, below...
The Black Lips