Live Review

Black Lips @ The Zoo

I was excited to learn that the Black Lips, well-known in the punk space for setting things on fire and playing very loud were coming to Brisbane. As someone who greatly enjoys the sound of trebly guitars being snapped in half and vocals that sound like they are coming from a 6” practice amp buried two feet underground, the Black Lips are a familiar (though enigmatic) entity.

After listening to their latest release, Apocalypse Love before the show, I became extremely depressed and felt like crying because no garage-rock band should ever be allowed to use one MIDI instrument let alone, like, eight. Apocalypse Love is a hippie garbage fire of unnecessary indie rock and I think Black Lips knew that, because when I showed up about ready to break down, the band was back in their angry, guitar-noise racket form (with no xylophone in sight).

The person who showed up next to me with all of their old records in a Thee Oh Sees bag clearly didn’t care about Apocalypse Love either. Alongside just about everybody else there: they came to lash out to incredibly loud, shambled-together square wave guitar rock. Black Lips facilitated this easily.

Instantly clearing my head of any doubt over their vision, they opened with M.I.A, one of my all-time favourite songs of theirs. They played a high-energy set with all the hits—I can tell you that not a single person in that venue was disappointed. Even though I notoriously cannot dance and stand with my hands in my pockets at nearly every gig I go to, it was hard not to move as I was literally being thrown around by Thee Oh Sees bag person and everybody else (and it was amazing).

The band’s attitude was in full force as well, with the lead guitarist frequently posing for the camera and also for some reason spitting on me. There was more spit on that stage than I’ve ever seen at any live music gig, probably (grossly) rivalling the pool stipulated by page 263 of What If? 2 by Randall Munroe. I did not enjoy that part of the gig, mainly because once the band started spitting on me, this person behind me tried to spit on the band, and that sucked because they were really drunk and missed the band, and just spat on my hair from about two inches away. I get it’s a garage rock thing but, ew. Not cool.

It was a good gig though, even if I couldn’t hear anything for a few days afterwards.

- Lachlan Bond.


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