Tag Archives: Brooklyn

The Black Lips – 9.19.07, New York, NY, Music Hall of Williamsburg

The Black Lips

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.

The Hold Steady – 8.9.07 Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park

Hold Steady

The Hold Steady – 8.9.07 Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park

In a recent interview Iggy Pop talked about the difference between playing music in 1965, as opposed to 2007.

“In 1965, when great young white artists in the English-speaking world were successfully re-channeling hillbilly and black music– you know Bob Dylan, Ray Davies, Pete Townsend, Keith Richards– they didn’t get any money at first. They were all broke. All those giant people had to stay around quite a while to cash in because the industry ripped them off more efficiently. The information wasn’t as widely available as it is now. Now, like I’m sure the Killers have a great record deal, and a lawyer to track their publishing and a guy to renegotiate their European cash flow streams and all that. It’s just different. I don’t know why.” – Iggy Pop

Certainly, the statement must hold true for some bands. However, contrary to Iggy’s statement, in the era of internet boom, surely just as many artists (if not more) are getting ripped off by charlatans, bandits and thieves in that ephemeral dream of making it, cashing in and getting paid to do what you love. And of the bands who are out there, you get the feeling that The Hold Steady have paid their dues.

When singer Craig Finn thanked the audience for the opportunity to play for them at the free show in Prospect Park, NY, on August 9, 2007, one was left with the profound sense that the man was truly humble. And what a show. Not only was the band incredibly tight, but there was that wild-alive electricity between the band and the audience you get 1 in every 10 shows. So if, like me, you came 3 years late to The Hold Steady, my advice is go out, buy all their albums now and catch them live.

Click here to see photos from the show.


Iggy Pop quote taken from Pitchforkmedia interview by Bret Gladstone. Click here to read the full article.