Black Lips Blow It

Check, check one...two... Three? Four? Five? Six?

Arriving at the Casbah, I watched Cole Alexander and Joe Bradley of Atlanta band the Black Lips work out their set list, which was mostly material off their new album Arabia Mountain.

Opening band Personal and the Pizzas kicked off the show with a classic Ramones/Stooges sound with gimmicky songs such as "Pepperoni Eyes" and "I Can Reed." I thought the music would get better but nothing was further from the truth. The show was a punk show in reverse, as the bands got progressively worse.

Locals the Low Volts played a mediocre set in the Atari Lounge and were followed by Cerebral Ballzy, who summed up everything wrong with the Williamsburg, Brooklyn music scene.

This can only get better, I thought, as the Black Lips took the stage, but technical difficulties stifled their momentum each time it began to build. A blown amp during their initial sound check was remedied when Personal and the Pizzas offered up their gear. And when the Lips did get things going, the songs were muffled by bad sound, creating indistinguishable fuzz. Minutes later, as the crowd was visibly trying to make sense of it all, Jared Swilley's bass guitar crapped out. The remainder of the set was like perpetual sound check, with a series of cable and guitar-pedal issues.

On my way out, I walked past the Lips who huddled outside the Casbah discussing their "worst show ever." At least they got something right that night.

  • Concert: Black Lips
  • Date: June 9
  • Venue: Casbah
  • Seats: In a puddle against a beer-soaked wall

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