Black Lips at SXSW 2007.Photo: Rahav Segev / Retna
Halfway through last night’s Black Lips show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg came a song that could very well have been the perfect theme for the band’s set, “Everybody’s Doing It,” an ode to youthful indiscretion (sample lyric: “We’re jumping off a bridge now!”). None of the rumored mainstays of the Atlanta wild children’s live show — onstage pissing, fireworks, full-frontal exposure — reared their ugly heads; instead, the show was infused with childlike enthusiasm. Whether it was bassist-vocalist Jared Swilley’s Angus Young schoolboy shorts or guitarist-vocalist Cole Alexander’s bedroom-mirror-attuned cock-rock guitar moves, or the two fans we spotted wearing Lost Boys (Pan, not Feldman) war paint, a manic glee was evident.
Black Lips, who’ve been playing together since high school, recently released their best album yet, Good Bad, Not Evil; they breathlessly punched through that album’s ramshackle psych-punk, stopping only briefly for Swilley to tell us, “The best day of my life was the day I hit puberty.” Right before the encore, the kid next to us on the balcony, who’d been spending some quality time chucking ice down onto the crowd below, precariously shimmied down the fencing Spider-Man style, bounding onto the stage and, just as quickly, stage-diving off it, hard-core-show style, with no burly bouncers in sight. Not exactly a bridge, but kudos nonetheless. —Amos Barshad