BLACK LIPS + TIMMY’S ORGANISM + STARCRAWLER @ THE REGENT
Photos by Adam Maresca Words by Madison Desler
The first note of “Sea of Blasphemy” barely had time to ring out before the toilet paper rolls were flying around The Regent – the Black Lips themselves tossing them out to the crowd with the most enthusiasm of all.
Rising from a swamp deep in Georgia, the slop-rockers have built a name off of garage thrashers like the aptly named “Bad Kids,” and their raise-the-dead, shock-rock shows. We’re talking nudity, upchucking on crowds, and even trying to pee into their own mouths.
Lucky for us—perhaps disappointing for some—we didn’t bear witness to any of that on this particular night. Besides a crowd-surfing guitar solo from Jack Hines, and some light making-out between founders Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley, the show was comparatively tame, leaving the music front and center.
Touring behind their new album, the Sean Ono Lennon-produced Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, the Lips seemed reinvigorated on new tracks like the country-flavored acid trip “Occidental Front” and the colossal “The Last Cul de Sac.” Even songs that are a minute or two too long on record—“Can’t Hold On” and “We Know”—benefitted from the electric live energy.
The Lips also dove deep into their back catalog, pulling out oldies like “Stone Cold,” “Dirty Hands,” and their lo-fi cover of Jacques Dutronc’s “Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah.” Though favorites like “Cold Hands,” and “Veni Vidi Vici” were absent, “O Katrina!” was given the full treatment, starting out with rumbling distortion and blue stage lights that made it seem like a storm really was coming.
In addition to their new, vomit-less philosophy, the Lips have some fresh blood—drummer Oakley Munson who bears an alarming resemblance to Bob Ross and was expertly batting away toilet paper rolls with his sticks all night, and Zumi Rosow who drifted in and out like a badass phantom with her saxophone to beef up songs like “Family Tree.”
The crowd themselves were an integral part of the show, with an unusual mix of people taking to the stage for a dive. There was the big guy with his t-shirt ripped to hell that took a major leap of faith during “Drive-By Buddy,” the man during “New Direction” who is the oldest person I think any of us had ever seen surfing a crowd, and all the kids who lingered a bit too long.
A public service announcement for all you crowd surfers: If you wind up on stage, please don’t stay there. No one wants to see you, especially the band. Get up, and fuck off.
After an 18-song set concluded with the crowd-pleasing, Ramones-esque “Raw Meat,” Alexander addressed the crowd, “We want to thank each and every one of you. Get home safe,” before falling backwards onto a sea of waiting hands.