The crowd at the packed Firebird was already sweaty and empty beer cans were already flying but the placement of a 24-pack of two-ply rolls on stage took the anticipation and excitement to the next level. Tuesday night felt like a Friday, and the venue hit capacity long before the Black Lips' 9:45 p.m. arrival to the stage. An hour and a half later, bruises appeared and some shirts had been removed, but the crowd had not shrunk a bit.
Nashville, Tennessee's Natural Child opened, sounding like a toned-down Black Lips. The scruffy trio brought less spectacle and more haze than their Atlanta headliners, but lyrically showed equal commitment to songs about girls, booze and good times. The crowd clearly came to see the Black Lips, but few seemed to mind the bonus of Natural Child.
The Black Lips are notorious for crazy, sometimes provocative onstage antics, sometimes involving onstage kissing, flashing and puking. They have a reputation for getting banned from venues and were thrown out of India in 2009 after guitarist Cole Alexander stripped off his clothes and stage dove during a show in Chennai. The garage-rock jokers have toned things down a bit since then, but rolls of toilet paper and partial nudity are still commonplace at their shows.
The 17-song set was played rapidly and rambunctiously. The only real break came when the cord connecting Jared Swilley's bass to his monitor ripped. Not unplugged. Literally ripped in half by the ferocious tug of a moshing fan. "It's not my fault and I'm not paying for it!" Swilley announced.
The mosh-pit that consistently appeared reached the walls of the Firebird, especially during upbeat songs like "New Direction" and "Bad Kids," during which kids could truly forget that they likely had work (or school) in the morning. The first stage dive came during "Modern Art," the second song of the night, and new crowd surfers rose up at a constant flow.
Even with all the crowd pinballing, there were slow moments like "Dirty Hands" and less nudity than some might have hoped for. The Black Lips seem to have passed the party onto their audience, letting fans do most of the stage diving and beer throwing. Even the toilet paper was handed to members of the crowd to throw, not thrown from stage. A toiled paper party by proxy, if you will.
Either the Black Lips have matured a bit, or they've just learned how to avoid being held responsible for the trouble they cause. Bad kids, indeed.
Justice After All
Boyz in the Wood
Not a Problem
Go Out and Get It
Lock N Key
Make You Mine