Black Lips

One Eyed Jacks

March 19, 2007


I love going to shows when the opening band is just as good and possibly better than the headliner. That was the case Monday night as The Black Lips opened up for The Ponys at One Eyed Jacks.

The Black Lips is a quartet from Atlanta that was younger than expected. I'm used to seeing guys in their late 30's practice garage rock, not kids in their early 20's. These guys didn't look healthy, at all. They played great, but they seemed drug-addled and out of it.

It was nice to be at a rock show where the crowd was into it. I was at an indie rock show earlier that night(Tokyo Police Club), and that crowd was a little tougher to get going than the Black Lips crowd. It makes sense, in the end, though. The Black Lips were better. And, they played a type of body loose music that flips a switch in people's brains, making their eyes glaze over the slightest bit and their heads wobble. It looks uncontrollable, the response to the music, and with music that primal, who really wants to control anything that happens because of it? Once the neck starts, the lower body will follow.

At rare points The Black Lips sounded like a harmless boy/doo wop band singing through high harmonies about that girl. Most of the time, they were a raucous, take-no-prisoners garage rock band from hell. They shook, they screamed, and the drummer sang. They were a 4 headed vocal monster. Questions:

How do The Black Lips make it sound like they're always about to go off the tracks without actually doing so? How are they so loose but yet so tight? How so they make their sound so big?

All I know is that most of the time this was cathartic, freak-out music. Especially when the band turned their strobe light on.

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