Black Lips 2009 Live Review

@ Middle East Downstairs

Chris: The Black Lips put on the best show I’ve ever seen. Very extraordinary, wild, and unpredictable. Of course, they garnered the most audience response and rightfully so. As soon as they stormed into “Sea of Blasphemy,” the crowd went into a frenzy, never remaining still or apart till the end. They played a fairly diverse set with songs from 4 of their 5 studio albums. In my opinion, the best performances were “Dirty Hands” (by far, the whole crowd was most united for this number, rocking back and forth and singing the chorus, def. a highlight of not just this show, but all shows in my somewhat brief concert going career), “Buried Alive,” “Fairy Stories,” “Bad Kids,” “Starting Over,” you know what they were all amazing…. I tried avoiding that, but I couldn’t. The band was more energetic and enthusiastic then most other bands I’ve seen, specifically singer/guitarist Jared Swilley, who often hopped into the crowd and shredded on his guitar. Excellent use of feedback, I must say. He was just a pro in stage antics. Overall, my favorite show by miles. I can’t wait to seem them again, whenever that is.

Glen: Obsessed with the Black Lips for well over two months, I was, for lack of a better word, pumped to see them. Chatting it up with guitarist Cole Alexander before the show was quite a treat. Cole talked to us about what kind of venues the Black Lips are capable of playing in, their lack of ability to play certain songs, and finally their snorting coke and partying with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich in England. When Alexander and his crew took the stage, the crowd erupted in shouts of “ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh” — similar to the Mexican crowd on the opening track off their spectacular live album Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo. Then, in a blink of an eye, Jared Swilley picked up his guitar, and so did Cole and Ian St. Pe. Joe Bradley readied himself behind the drumset and the group opened with “Sea of Blasphemy.” The crowd erupted in a moshpit that involved lots of contact and screaming. The contact and the screaming never relented. Between songs, Jared kept remarking how he couldn’t hear the audience for shit (they were screaming out requests). Also between songs involved the tossing of multiple beers. Swilley dropped a pass and joked, “I didn’t play football in high school.” St. Pe, who a little later caught a beer pass, said “I played football in high school.” St. Pe was playing guitar in front of me the whole time. He was clearly inebriated but was still able to strum amazingly. He handed me one of the beers he caught and gave me a high five. Good man. The band was absolutely full of energy and lived up to their “one of rock’s best live acts” reputation. There was no mooning, making out, or pissing on the audience — and there didn’t need to be…crowd surfing and spitting sufficed. The Black Lips played a hodge podge of great tracks ranging from oldies “Bad Kids,” “Buried Alive,” “Dirty Hands,” “Cold Hands,” a 10 minute epic of “Hippie Hippie Hoorah,” “Not a Problem,” “Stranger,” “Katrina,” to songs off their 2009 release 200 Million Thousand like “Drugs,” “Short Fuse,” “Starting Over,” and “Take My Heart.” The last song came, at least for me, unexpectedly. I was having the most fun I’ve ever had and thus began “Juvenile.” Jared let the front row play with his guitar a little before full out diving into us. He was hanging onto the condensation-dripping wall while being pushed around. Beers were being spilled everywhere and everyone was going absolutely nuts. The security guards were getting so pissed that they cut the plug to the mics and started dismantling the band’s equipment. The crowds’ calls, “Encore! Encore!” were repudiated as the lights turned on and the background music played. I would have loved one more, but I can’t complain. If they were going to do an encore…the security were just assholes. It took almost 2 days for my inner-ear buzzing to stop, but it was well worth it and I’d relive the concert again in a heartbeat. Black Lips, if you read this…Boston loves you! Come back this summer…please!

“Jay Reatard Murdered Jimmy Lindsey”

Take a look at this article by Anders Thode, a member of the Cola Freaks and also a member of the last Jay Reatard band.

When Jacob and I were asked to join Jay on what would become his last major tour we were a little concerned about what would happen. Though Cola Freaks had landed an opening slot on one of his previous tours, we had only spoken to him briefly and we didn’t really feel like we knew him that well. We had read a lot of nonsense in the music press about him being a bad ass drunk meanie with nothing good to offer to anyone. But that was only half the truth. When he came to Aarhus to rehearse before the tour he was the nicest guy we had ever met. We were so relieved since we were about to spend almost two months with him in a van driving across Europe and a large part of the USA. As the tour dragged on we got pretty close and naturally opened up to each other. And gosh! It turned out that under the surface the rock ‘n’ roll monster was a decent guy with a lot of empathy. Though he was a fun guy to be around (for instance when he played stoned and completely retarded answering machine messages he had received from Phil Anselmo, to the rest of the van) he also seemed a little bitter. It seemed like he had painted himself up in a corner. He was trapped in the role as the bad ass rock ‘n’ roller and he didn’t like it too much. He wanted to be more Jimmy and less Jay. It was as though he knew the lifestyle he was leading would eventually end up killing him and he was fucking scared of it. He tried to resist but sadly he didn’t try hard enough and Jay Reatard murdered Jimmy Lindsey with a cocaine overdose and the rest is history.

Click this sentence to read the full article.

Memories W/ Jay

I got acknowledged by Jay Reatard twice in my life. Two times in the same night, as a matter of fact. The first was admittedly awkward. I saw Jay walk by before the show (at Harpers Ferry, October 2) so I said to him as he passed, “Hey Jay, I love you man.” I didn’t really notice his reaction, because he kept walking, but some people close to me have said that he smirked. The other meeting occured a short time later; Jay was chilling near the front of the stage so I said “Hey Jay, your last record is really awesome.” He responded! He said, “Thanks, man.” Of course, I was a creep, but whatever!