(Photos by Rena Kosnett. Click here for more)
The Troubadour got punked.
The proliferation of stage jumpers, crowd surfers, beverage throwers, and scaffolding climbers that came out to see The Black Lips on Friday totally emasculated the Troubadour's large and normally austere bouncers. There were just too many crazy kids zig-zagging around for them to try and stop it. There weren't violent, mean-spirited punks stabbing each other with spike bracelets — just energetic tomfoolery, instigated by the raw and fast garage rock pace of the band on stage.
Considering the tragic beginning of the Atlanta based Black Lips (one of the original guitar players and vocalists, Ben Eberbaugh, died tragically and depressingly young in a car accident shortly after the release of their first 7” in 2002), their recent successes seem even more significant. They have a loyal and growing fan base who venture out to see their reputedly crazy live shows, were dubbed “the hardest working band” at the 2007 South By Southwest Festival, released their 6th full length album, Good Bad Not Evil (Vice Records) on September 11th, and just appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien a few nights ago. So, I'm not surprised their performance Friday night at the Troubadour was brimming with confidence and happiness. The night got especially entertaining when the band played their cover of classic French rocker Jacques Dutronc’s song “Hippie Hippie Hoorah,” which The Black Lips recorded for their 2005 album “Let It Bloom,” released on In The Red.
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Lead vocalist Cole Alexander had the rowdy dancers eating out of the palm of his hand during this song, evident as they quieted down and jumped back up in response to the cues he was orchestrating from on stage. Also impressive were Cole's tongue, spit, and back bending feats, as well as bass player Jared Swilley's moustache and short-shorts (in his defense, it was really hot that day). During their encore, when Joe Bradley's drum kit fell apart, Monty Buckles, of L.A.'s garage-rock trio The Lamps, rushed up to help put it back together, mid-song. It felt like the raucous spirit of the former kick ass all-ages all-weekend punk club Juvee had infiltrated the corporate house of Troubadour. Major fun.