Home > Entertainment, Lifestyle, Tune in > Tune In: Back at Bowery Ballroom, The Return of the Black Lips

Tune In: Back at Bowery Ballroom, The Return of the Black Lips

The Black Lips played for an unruly audience at The Bowery Ballroom on March 24, 2010.

Last year when I saw the Black Lips at Bowery Ballroom, the four-piece psychedelic/punk/garage band from Atlanta was debuting their 2009 release “200 Million Thousand.”

On Wednesday (March 24) when I saw the Black Lips again at Bowery Ballroom, they offered much of the same, a sampling from their last three albums “Let It Bloom,” “Good Bad Not Evil” and “200 Million Thousand,” since they are currently working on a new record.

While the set list was similar to last year’s show, this time around Cole Alexander (guitar), Jared Swilley (bass), Ian Saint Pé (guitar) and Joe Bradley (drums) seemed less enthralled (as was I) by the rowdy New York fans, who climbed on stage, obnoxiously crowded the musicians, and waited to receive accolades from the audience before diving back into the swelling mass.

During the concert, Saint Pé head butted his microphone, Swilley traversed over fans that held him above their heads, and Alexander repeatedly spit a loogy at the back of his raised guitar, which he then caught in his mouth. Bradley hit his drums furiously like a precision beat apparatus, chopping through the rattling guitar, stomping bass, and scratchy vocals, moans and groans of the three guitarists and Bradley himself.

Crowd favorites, like “Dirty Hands” “O Katrina!” “Not a Problem” and “Bad Kids,” allowed for large-scale sing-a-longs throughout the set. But unfortunately, some fans forgot that the Black Lips were the main attraction. One unruly customer jumped on stage and attempted to commandeer Saint Pé’s guitar until Alexander told him to back off. Alexander’s eerie vocals during the chorus of “Buried Alive” put the show-off stage divers back in their place.

Late in the set, Swilley announced that the Black Lips would be performing in Iraq in the future, but not as part of a USO tour for the troops. Assumingly, although their past tour of India was prematurely cancelled, the Black Lips hope to play for the Iraqi people. They once played a show in a park in Palestine, and have spoken openly in interviews about touring foreign countries that are usually bypassed by rock bands.

During the brief encore, the Black Lips unveiled a new track “Raw Meat,” which although loud and fast, is hopefully a work in progress. It sounds like an old Ramones b-side, which is great on the surface, but shows a lack of originality.

The Black Lips will continue their North American tour in Canada until the end of March when they’ll work their way across the Mid-West, and then back down south where the tour ends in their native state, Georgia. Keep an ear out for their next album, and future tour dates, because this band gets better with age (despite the less than enjoyable segment of their growing fan base).

Hear them for yourself here.

-Matt Surrusco

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