Black Lips on TV Eye / July 7, 2021
The shock value of Black Lips may be in the past. At least in New York, the musicians did not cause a scandal during the last performances. At Webster Hall in 2017, however, guitarist Cole Alexander and bassist Jared Swilley pursed their lips for several minutes while playing a song. Also towards the end of this show, Swilley took to the stage to do some R rated and even X rated activities in front of the crowd. Maybe we don’t need to see those antics on stage anymore.
Besides being a wild bunch of characters, Black Lips is a solid rock and roll band. Founded in 2000, Black Lips released their ninth and most recent studio album, Sing in a collapsing world, January 24, 2020. However, the group did not have the opportunity to shoot it last year, due to the end of the pandemic.
New touring opportunities this year brought the Georgia-based quintet to TV Eye for a two-night engagement. Alexander, Swilley, guitarist and pedal steel player Jeff Clarke, saxophonist Zumi Rosow and drummer Oakley Munson performed their new and old catalog of unpolished garage rock songs. They’ve sprinkled a lot of these twang country songs, some even leaning towards the psycho-billy. The fastest songs generated moshing; Diving on stage was impractical at this concert, however, due to TV Eye’s low stage.
Most bands polish their music over the years as they become more proficient on their instruments. Quite the opposite has happened here. Even after 21 years, Black Lips embarked on a raw, primitive core and DIY punk philosophy. This formula has helped make Black Lips a great live band.