Friday, May 5, 2017

The Black Lips at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Cole Alexander
In Dunwoody, Georgia, guitarist Cole Alexander and bassist Jared Swilley reportedly were expelled from high school during their senior year because they were regarded as a "subculture danger." In 1999, they left a band called the Renegades and formed Black Lips. Alexander and Swilley were known for their crude antics in school and these pranks extended into their live shows. In the beginning, they tossed lit firecrackers into the audience; nowadays these pranks can include nudity, urination, fire, vomiting, and the destruction of musical instruments. Black Lips presently consists of Alexander, Swilley, guitarist Jack Hines, saxophonist Zumi Rosow and drummer Oakley Munson. The band released its eighth studio album, the first in three years, Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?, on May 5, 2017.

Many of the band's reviews concentrate on the band's onstage antics more than the music. It cannot be helped. At Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom tonight, the Black Lips played riveting garage rock that pummeled much like a Diarrhea Planet concert. Black Lips has taken 1960s-style garage rock and made it louder, rougher, grittier and more pulverizing. The show was bigger than life, however, starting modestly with someone behind the band sailing rolls of unspooling toilet paper into the audience. Later, Alexander and Hines exchanged a prolonged kiss while playing a raucous rocker. Towards the end of the set, Alexander dropped his leather pants, fully exposing his privates, and spent a song alternating between playing his guitar and playing with his penis. After the song, he lifted his trousers but then a few minutes later he dropped them again and urinated, pointing the stream to his face with his mouth open. A maintenance worker came on stage with a mop, and Alexander took it from him, saying something to the audience about cleaning up his own mess. He then mooned the audience and left the stage. For the encore he smashed a guitar to pieces. The Black Lips' music was exciting, but the antics were among the wildest theatrics ever exhibited on a rock stage.

Visit Black Lips at www.black-lips.com.

Setlist
  1. Sea of Blasphemy
  2. Family Tree
  3. Modern Art
  4. Can't Hold On
  5. Dirty Hands
  6. O Katrina!
  7. Drive By Buddy
  8. The Last Cul de Sac
  9. Everybody's Doin' It
  10. Stranger
  11. Stone Cold
  12. Rebel Intuition
  13. Occidental Front
  14. We Know
  15. Smiling
  16. Ain't No Deal
  17. M.I.A.
  18. Raw Meat