Black Lips used to be good because they were bad, both at playing their instruments and refraining from puking and pissing all over the place. It’s what made punk ass hipsters go ape shit wherever they rolled. With years on the road solidifying their instinctual style into solid garage punk, their reputation still precedes their abilities, so much so that they didn’t have to give fake blow jobs or make out or fuck up their parts or piss on those who flocked to Silent Barn on Friday to stir kids into a fuck-all frenzy that saw an ill-advised stage dive before the Lips even plugged in. Yep, the band swaggered atop its punk rock laurels, and the kids fawned all over the place –against each other, on top of each other– until this party was something between a riot and an orgy, though no one had enough space to really survey what in gods name was actually happening.
The “stage” was built out of plywood in two hours earlier that day, and it proved as raw as the bashed up knees of those, like me, who spent most of the set braced between its sharp corners and the sweaty crotches and hands pressing up for our prime real estate. There’s no question the Black Lips were way too big for Silent Barn. As they pounded through “Boomerang”, the PA speakers, stacked up eight feet, came a few stage dives from falling on a camp of drunk girls who probably wouldn’t have been able to stand if they weren’t surrounded completely by people they could fall on. Todd P (who may have ordered the stage’s construction to get this bad ass arm pit shot) saved said drunkbots and countless others, ordering interns and Vice kids to hold the equipment up for the rest of the set.
And what a set it was. I’m a sucker for the somber hook in “Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah” and the Beatles-hawking in “Dirty Hands”, but most all their songs sound the same when you’re getting tossed around on top of people’s hands, or, in the case of one “punk rock-ribbed” shirtless dude, straight onto the concrete floor. It seemed that he noticed the clear divide between the violence in front of the stage and the more familiar apathetic calm in the crowd standing behind the band, but he mounted the stage to dive into that sea of tranquility anyway and got a couple black and blue badges for it.
Heat exhaustion was had by all, the set was cut short, and we all stumbled out into the mercifully cool early morning on Wyckoff Ave.