Live Review Black Lips, Stereo, Glasgow

Black Lips roll on like a gritty punk juggernaut.



Playing The Velvet Underground and Nico album as warm up music is a sign of a supremely confident band; making the crowd wait until they’ve heard nearly all of it smacks of cockiness. Atlanta’s Black Lips tardy appearance allows the venue to fill so that when a rash of pogoing breaks out, as it does almost immediately, it spreads infectiously through most of the room.

Guitarist / singer Cole Alexander spits the first of many gobs into the air and catches it in his mouth as they kick off their particular brand of dirty rockabilly with 'Sea Of Blasphemy'. He distorts his vocal contributions with an effects mic, adding to an aggressive front line completed by his band mates Jared Swiley, with a Hofner viola bass and guitarist Ian St Pe, also fond of expectorating onto his instrument.

So far, so predictable for a band famed for on-stage antics which they dismiss as “natural bodily functions.” They’ve even being banned from some venues due to stage invasions. Tonight however the crowd seem more intent on causing a ruckus than the band do. When it looks like a fight might have broken out, one particularly enthusiastic individual is bundled out by security – that there were security guards at all is a new phenomenon for a Stereo show – that it takes them two goes to eject a determined troublemaker feels distinctly old school. The place is sweatier than usual and a few well lubricated audience members are intent on chaos.

The band hammer through their set of testosterone fuelled Ramones-y rock ‘n ‘roll with aplomb . The Spector clang of 'Dirty Hands' sets the tone and the 'Seven Nation Army'-on-bass intro of 'O Katrina' kicks off a serious mosh pit. They give an authentic sixties feel to a cover of Jacques Dutronc’s 'Hippie Hippie Hurrah', which sounds not unlike the early Status Quo number 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men'.

Swiley claims they’ve playing some songs from their innocent youth and now they’re “perverted and old,” but sonically there is not a great deal of difference between eras. A couple of crowd surfers and a long range spit from Alexander enliven the throng further. A dollop of doo wop proves that there is no bit of rock history that they won’t pillage for ideas, unfortunately 'Bad Kids' almost strays into Shawaddywaddy territory. 'Too Much In Love' is trashy like the New York Dolls without the eyeliner, but with a bit of guitarist-on-guitarist snogging.

The teenage element of the crowd manages to pogo along, even to the slower songs, and the Black Lips roll on like a gritty punk juggernaut, confident enough to bury pop tunes under the macho schtick.

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