Black Lips Will Destroy You

There is no witty title for this update. Too much else has to be said about the night for that.

Black Lips

I’ve seen the room at the Firebird take on many moods and I feel that it is one of the venue’s many strengths, yet I never expected the absolute white knuckle ride that the Black Lips would evoke. I spent the first few songs (which included “Drugs” and “Short Fuse”, two of my favorites) partially braced against the stage while a whirlwind of bodies and closed fists pushed behind me. In some ways it was similar to the force I felt at Matt & Kim last August at Off Broadway. The main difference being that here, while you may be able to classify some of those in attendance as hipsters in the most negative way, these people transcended that notion quite simply: they knew what they were doing. No one wanted to see another fall victim to a wayward foot or elbow and if someone had the poor luck to get struck there would be arms around shoulders and apologies that traveled with the smell of cheap beer. Handling expensive equipment, I felt fine being at the crust of this controlled fury, but I knew that sooner or later I would be pushing my luck. I got my shots and respectively let things go as they should without any worry on my mind.

Monitors were pushed into the center of the stage, mic stands were knocked over, yet they were quickly reset by the band or crowd. I knew a good handful of those up front, many having been a part of the young punk/hardcore scene in St. Louis, known for their drinking and ability to exist as complete aliens in the suburbs north of St. Louis and other strip mall settlements that pepper the metropolitan area. They party with a ferocity that the city college kids would find animalistic, but the disgust also comes with envy. Here, they came to midtown to help put on the show.

At first, some of the staff were set to kick out anyone too rowdy and when a valid offense finally appeared, bassist Jared called out to let them stay. This set a precedent for the night’s behavior. Aside from committing an act of raw violence or arson, you were free to be as wild as you wanted.

Dude Going Off

I believe it was Jeremiah McIntyre of the Box Elders who brought out the inflatable jukebox, which floated around for about a song before the young man in white, pictured above, grabbed it, hopped on stage, and then tried to boogie board over the crowd. He lasted for a good 10 seconds. Then Ian broke a bottle of Stella on a speaker and used the neck as a slide.

Black Lips

After this shot of energy, the night endured it’s first slow moment. Cole sat cross-legged and played. The pace had settled. Things were still at a high pitch, but consistent. I decided to get a drink before the next wind up and not more than a few moments after getting some water, Cole vomited (this was a seamless affair, his guitar playing was flawless) and as “Bad Kids” began at least 2 dozen people rushed the stage.

Black Lips

How the show didn’t come to a stand still is beyond me, but the cables and egos stayed intact. It was wild, I had my back against the wall, letting my shutter fill the buffer. The shots ended up being worthless, held the camera above myself at a shitty pitch. Probably for the best. As the song came to it’s end, the crowd cleared out slowly, with Cole hoisted on the shoulders of a rusher, screaming into the mic he somehow didn’t lose in the mess of flesh.

Black Lips

One of my major dislikes of wearing ear plug is that for myself it is really easy to zone out on the music, the particulars of the beat. I couldn’t tell you what the last few songs were without looking at the set list.

What I can tell you is this: after “Bad Kids”, Jared got those at the front to hold him up by his legs while steadying himself with one shoulder against the drop ceiling. He played the next song like this and I have no doubt that if he moved his legs in the walking motion, he could’ve travel across the front of the stage. They held him with such care.

Black Lips

As this was going on, Cole dropped his pants and, with little grace, exposed himself. Having heard of their sometimes use of bodily fluids I wanted to put some space between myself and the man on stage who looked like he was trying to get himself hard. Those around me, however, wanted nothing like this to go down and I was met with a hail of fingers pointed at the spectacle behind me.

Black Lips

This would be known to be one of the most talked about moments of the night and reluctantly, I captured it. Turns out he was just slapping his deal against the strings of his guitar.

Mind you, everything from the vomiting to the penis on guitar action happened within a span of maybe 6 minutes.

From here the insanity subdued. Cole jumped from the drum rise, Jared let the crowd manhandle his bass, and Ian left his Stratocaster dangling from the mic stand. There would be no need for an encore.

As the dust settled and the minors kicked out, the band met warmly with the fans who stuck around. For being what one can only assume drunk off their asses, they were well humored and inviting. Somehow, these girls convinced them that Atomic Cowboy, a local bar that caters to a broad range of folks, had a mechanical bull and it took a lot to convince them otherwise.

The last I saw of those bastards, Jared was giving Cole shit for even giving a thought about going out with these strange young girls in their brand new Mini Cooper. Something about transportation for a few moments, and the made their way to the van. I’ve never seen anything like it.

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Questions, Comments?
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One Response to “Black Lips Will Destroy You”

  1. Chris says:

    Atomic did have a mechanical bull…for all of two weeks back in December or sometime around then. Clearly those girls were not among the usual crowd.

    Good write up. Sounds about right. Though I don’t recall anyone opposed to Cole exposing himself. Mostly I was too busy still hitting people.

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