The traditional story casts The Black Lips as a gang of musical outlaws, the last of the excessive rock n’ rollers and of course as with any cliché there’s an element of truth to it. The core of the band, Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley were kicked out of school in the aftermath of the Columbine Massacre for being a “subculture danger,” there were rehab stints as early as 2000, the premature death of a band member in 2002, a dozen shows in three days at 2007’s SXSW, imprisonment in India for “homosexual acts” later that year and their eventual signing to VICE records, the musical home of narcotic excess.
It seems that these days, the focus has changed. Sure, they probably drink and take enough Oxycontin to sink a warship and take no prisoners live but the recorded music now gets at least equal billing. VICE records have to take some credit for giving the Atlanta, Georgia band the trust and means to produce records such as 2011’s career highlight Arabia Mountain, an album that saw the Lips benefit from an outstanding Mark Ronson production. Compare that to 2005’s Let It Bloom, which for all the memorable songs, sounds like it was recorded on a dictophone. Regarded as the ultimate party band, they are incredible live; gang vocals, madman drumming and buzzsaw guitars combine to make a mosh-inducing hybrid between The Ramones and The Sonics. Without fail, they’ll put a smile on your face, make you want to down your beer to get hot and sweaty down the front.
Those peeps at Teen Creeps know how to come up with a well matched bill and this show is no different. Theo Verney filters a doomier sensibility into his garage rock, mixing the uptempo stuff with some slow and heavy Iommi worship. Spit Shake Sisters have an ear to the West coast USA sounds of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees. Both come highly, highly recommended. See you at the front!