No piss, no blood, no same-sex make-outs: Black Lips @ LSA


It’s a rare thing when the thought of a night filled with deafening screams and the chance to get peed on or punched in the face (or both) in a room packed with sweaty people gets you giddy, but that’s the promise a Black Lips ticket holds. It even seems to smile back at you when you hold it in front of your face, sinisterly.

Survivors of past shows have told tales of being urinated on, witnessing fellow show-goers get leveled in mosh pits, watching two of the Lips’ quartet make-out, and band members kicking each other directly in the crotch. All while people are stage diving into the crowd like Kamikaze pilots. Generally, these stories are told by shell-shocked vets as they shakily bring a cigarette to their lips and hold back tears as they rehash the horror.

Sounded awesome.

Like a trucker on dirty, rest-stop meth trying to make his deadline, The Black Lips were relentless. Although they’re out promoting their latest album Arabia Mountain, they seem to be bigger advocates for complete and utter chaos. Their indie-garage rock/indie-punk blasts you in the face like a cream pie, and, if you’re unprepared, pummels you like a rogue wave.

The secret to making it out of one of these shows unscathed and without hepatitis-C, I’ve gathered, is to learn how to ride that wave; and the ones that have the best time do exactly that (i.e. The Black Lips themselves).

Throughout the show the Lips are throwing their bodies around the stage, exploding and recoiling with every note. At one point, lead vocalist and guitarist, Jared Swilley, dove into the crowd and continued to wail on his axe as he surfed over his fans.

By the end, the Lips’ contagious energy caused the concert to erupt into a dance party, with the crowd pouring onto the stage as the Lips played on, unaffected; like the musicians that kept playing as the Titanic went down.

The Lips played a good mix of new and old songs. They hit on some lesser known tracks, including “Dumpster Dive” and “Modern Art”. And also hit the crowd-pleasers in “Cold Hands” and “Bad Kids”.

Although the show was great, the antics were relatively minor. No one in the audience or in the band was hurt. No social mores were shattered. No real obscenities. No nudity. In the end, it felt like a slightly disappointing Christmas… until I saw someone get punched in the face two blocks from the Logan Square Auditorium after the show.

Ah, there is a God.