The Black Lips – 9.19.07, New York, NY, Music Hall of Williamsburg
For all the legends and myths in circulation about the wild debauchery of The Black Lips’ performances, when the band played New York’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 19th, they were far more professional than their reputation would have you think. When, for instance, bassist/singer Jared Swilley’s bass broke, rather than letting the set lose momentum, the band continued to play while Swilley frantically corrected the problem. Once Swilley was back on the horse, he apologized for the technical hiccup. Granted, one might question if puking on stage is “professional”, but when guitarist/singer Cole Alexander vomited, it was ever-so-casual, the way most of us nonchalantly glance at our watches. Alexander’s mannerly barf aside, it was the crowd that was foaming and rabid.
Not only was the house teeming with girls in feathered headdresses and grown men dropping from the rafters (one almost hit Tim), but the show was covered by everyone from small time bloggers to CMJ. This is no doubt credit to the Vice media-conglomerate and hype machine. With VBS TV’s recent broadcast of the band’s misadventures in Israel, The Black Lips have the feel of the company’s house band. But the hype from Vice is warranted. The album Good Bad, Not Evil is not only The Black Lips shining moment thus far, but its Gonzo attitude, totally weird, nastily comic and politically charged nature, make it one of the best albums of the year, hands down.
And as for the live show, while the days of urinating in each other’s mouths may be behind the band in their new-found spotlight, The Black Lips put on one hell of show. As their albums have always hinted, the performance is a different beast than the record. The most mesmerizing part of the show was drummer and wild-arm, Joe Bradley. In a zone of his own, Bradley was a war-path-drum-freak, full of frantic screams, crazed “Ah-ha-ha-ha-has!” that were terrifying as hypnotic. A man possessed, Bradley alone made the concert.
Click here to see photos from the show.