Black Lips rock too hard for Hard Rock Hotel

Last night’s Black Lips show definitely erased the “hard” and “rock” from the Hard Rock Hotel.

Three songs into the Lips’ set, security shut down the Hard Rock’s “Soundcheck .007” event at around 11:30 p.m. The audience was ushered outside where six cop cars lined Fifth Avenue.

The reasoning behind the prompt shut down seemed to be Hard Rock’s inability to deal with a mosh pit. It started when too many crowd surfers for security’s liking tried climbing up onto the stage during “Blasphemy” and “Family Tree.” Security got increasingly aggressive trying to control around 100 rambunctious 20-somethings slipping in the spillage from their $10 cocktails. As soon as the band broke into its third song of the night — “Short Fuse,” appropriately enough — security decided to shut down the Hard Rock’s 207 venue.

“I don’t care what it takes, GET THEM OUT OF HERE!” yelled someone in charge at the 207.

“Maybe security got a little too aggressive when they were trying to get people offstage,” says concertgoer Jaime Gamblin. “In protest, [frontman] Jared Swilley stood on something at the back of the stage and gave security the defiant double-handed bird until his band mates could get him to come down.”

Shouts of “FUCK HARD ROCK! FUCK HARD ROCK!” echoed in the venue and out onto the street, where several Black Lips fans shoved their middle fingers in a security guard’s face. People lingered for half an hour hoping to be let back in, while security continued to urge people to leave. Jokes about getting refunds for the free show put on by Filter Magazine and Hard Rock turned into chants of “REFUND! REFUND! REFUND!”

Anyone who has seen the Black Lips before can tell you the pit last night was tame compared to past Black Lips concerts. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the Black Lips are a “flower-punk” band known for their wild shows, getting into fights with other bands (Swiley once got punched out by Nathan Williams of Wavves in 2009), bringing Biggie Smalls cut-outs to Coachella and poking fun at the Tupac holograms, and mayhem inspired songs like “Bad Kids.”

The Hard Rock Hotel should have thought twice about letting the Black Lips play at their precious 207 bar, knowing what this band is capable of.

Despite the huge disappointment, lesson learned: don’t go to the Hard Rock for hard rock.

(Photo of Jared Swilley by Fallon Chen)

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Cole Alexander of the Black Lips replied to my request for comment via email:

"The last two times we played the the Hard Rock Cafe, they have shut the show down mid set because the mgmt thought it was too crazy or weird or something. Not really sure why? They should call the venue the Soft Rock Cafe. if the managers of the venue worked for Ben and Jerry’s, I bet they would try to sell smoked fish. i feel bad for people who didn’t get to watch our show. Hopefully next time ;)

P.S Some of the Hard Rock employees were very nice just not the manager and the violent security"

This is the most one-sided, intentionally sensational story I've ever seen. Did you even ask the hotel to comment before writing this?

I've worked in the concert industry and I was also at this show. I was really looking forward to seeing the Black Lips, but I respect Hard Rock for doing what they needed to do. From my perspective, albiet a bit tipsy one, it seemed like the management asked the band to stop for a minute so they could help some people who were crushed up front. When the band refused and got aggressive toward the manager, that's when things went sour. Apparently Black Lips don't give a shit if people are getting hurt and crushed?

I love the free rock shows Hard Rock puts on in 207 and Maryjane's. This isn't going to stop me from going to the next one. If anything, it might stop me from going to a Black Lips show again, because they seem arrogant and proud of inciting rowdiness.

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