Friday 29th October
The last time we witnessed Atlanta’s Black Lips grace a London venue they played a typically feisty set at the Electric Ballroom and went home fighting each other, so their return to UK soil tonight was always going to be interesting. From the set list that they brought to this Dr. Martins branded free show it’s clear that the band have been focusing on a return to form, by writing more of those amazing catchy garage pop tunes that they are known best for and tonight the Lips decided to treat the audience to a bunch of these at 12.30am to a pissed up crowd who were fueled by an impressive £2 bar.
Opening track Sea of Blasphemy was greeted with a lively pit which only increased with enthusiasm to the sound of 2009’s single Drugs which is played as if it’s hanging on a hinge. New song Let’s Go Out and Get It calms things down a bit as people judge their new work before O Katrina brings the first storm of the stage with the invasion shutting the PA down and bouncers wondering what the fuck is going on. This is exactly what I love about seeing this band, they invite the party to the fridge, stock it with hard liquor and then drink it with everyone up close.
When the PA finally gets switched back on and brows are wiped of Jack Daniels and Carlsberg the down tempo Dirty Hands brings the Beatles’esque sing-a-long to the dance floor followed by the new found, countrified swill of Dumpster Diving, another new track inspired by drummer Joe Bradley’s passion for jumping into bins. I did this once on the Strand, pissed off my tits on shots and ended up rising with a chestful of another man’s dinner and ale that had been puked up and left for someone as wasted as me to dive into to. Joe’s experience was slightly more fruitful as this new track apparently pays ode to his lucky dive in Hawaii where once inside the wheelie bin he found a lap steel guitar that is actually used on the new recordings the band have been working on in the studio recently.
Spirits are raised to the familiar sounds of Cold Hands, one of the stand out tracks from 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil album, the record that really brought Black Lips to the attention of the UK press and beyond. The new tracks that follow sound in a similar vein, as if the band have decided to rekindle the upbeat vibes of this cherished release following the mixed reviews that followed the release of 200 Million Thousand. New stand out tracks New Direction and Family Tree both front big choruses powered by the Lip’s most infamous garage steez and get a great reaction before the metal-mouthed Ian Saint Pé informs the baying crowd that Bad Kids will be the finale of tonight’s entertainment that only ignites another full stage invasion to end the set.
Overall their fans should be stoked with the new tracks that are said to be released in March 2011 produced by Deerhunter’s guitarist Lockett Pundt and with rumours fueled by a studio interview with the band on the Spin website this year suggesting that Cole and co have also reached out to producer Mark Ronson, their 6th album could see a return to the catchy garage pop that they are most famous for.