There’s a term for a person who knowingly and consensually allows another person to inflict pain on them, and from this day forth they shall be known as Black Lips fans.
The Sunrise Arena was filled with teenage boys and I was in front of them at the coveted front of stage spot. The four-piece from Atlanta, Georgia started out inauspiciously, a problem with an amp meant guitarist Ian Saint Pé couldn’t join the rest of the band who had already begun to play a thunderous blues riff.
While the crowd grew restless I noticed how comfortable they seemed improvising, the unpredictable Cole Alexander on lead guitar filling in with guttural noises and wild runs up the fretboard.
As soon as they began the crowd went balls-out nuts, rushing the stage, throwing cans and all-but stoving each others faces in. But the sound was incredible – surf guitar riffs shredded to pieces, three-way vocals from Alexander, Jared Swilley on bass and drummer Joe Bradley delivered with a pissy, punk attitude.
When they played ‘Oh Katrina’ and ‘Buried Alive’ from last year’s Good, Bad, Not Evil things got totally out of hand and crowd surfers started assaulting their way to the front and jumping up and down as one sweaty, hormonal mass, me included. Which is when an unidentified foot land sharply on mine causing me to scream profanities and gain more social acceptance from the people around me.
But that’s what you get at a Black Lips show: it’s the unspoken rule that you may have to pay with a limb. It reminded me of another four-piece who inspired such hysteria, and who also had a singer playing a Hoffner violin bass. The kids are definitely onto something here…