Photos + Review + Setlist + Video: The Black Lips Destroy The Firebird, Wednesday, April 7


The Black Lips got bum rushed during "Bad Kids" - PHOTO BY KEEGAN HAMILTON
  • photo by Keegan Hamilton
  • The Black Lips got bum rushed during "Bad Kids"
I'd heard some wild stories about Black Lips performances -- instances where the band pissed in their own mouths, cut themselves and bled all over the stage or hocked loogies into the air and caught them in their mouths. Basically, I was told: "Imagine something shocking with bodily fluids, and assume that they've probably done it on stage."

See 40 photos from last night's Black Lips show here.

None of those things happened last night at the Firebird. But it was still an epic show.

A fan crowd-surfs during the Black Lips on Wednesday night at the Firebird. See full slideshow here. - PHOTO: JASON STOFF
  • Photo: Jason Stoff
  • A fan crowd-surfs during the Black Lips on Wednesday night at the Firebird. See full slideshow here.
The crowd was rowdy, sweaty and ready to rock the shit out of a Wednesday night. Some people were overheard saying they traveled from as far away as Nashville and Memphis. The quartet from Atlanta obliged them with a balls-to-the-wall punk thrashing replete with broken beer bottles, guttural howls, broken guitar strings, fuzzed-out amplifiers and generous helping of y'alls -- as in "Y'all ain't fuckin' around out there."

The Black Lips last night at the Firebird. See a full slideshow from last night here. - PHOTO: JASON STOFF
Those were the words of guitarist Ian Saint Pé upon seeing a throbbing mass of a frantic (but mostly friendly) St. Louis mosh pit. The crowd was a mob of stage-diving, bubble-blowing, giant-inflatable-jukebox-batting, beer-spewing crowd-surfing mad men. And when the band played "Bad Kids," they swarmed onto the stage, pumped their fists and belted out the lyrics themselves.

The Lips were clearly impressed, joking about how the last time they were in town long ago they were at "a shitty bullpen" (The Creepy Crawl) and how it was time "to put St. Louis back on the map." They professed their love for Chuck Berry ("We're gonna go see him up at that Duck Hunt Room") and wailed on their guitars in a way that would've both horrified and delighted the Father of Rock & Roll.

The Black Lips last night at the Firebird. See a full slideshow from last night here. - PHOTO: JASON STOFF
They attacked their instruments. They stuck their tongues down each others throats. Saint Pé smashed a High Life bottle on the stage and played slide guitar with the jagged bottleneck. Bassist Jared Swilley dangled from the ceiling with one arm and strummed with the other, held aloft by the die hards at the front.

They screamed and spat and and lived up to every insane expectation and then some. And they didn't even piss in their own mouths to do it.

(Thank God. That's just gross.)

Fuzzy setlist:
Video and a slideshow coming soon...

Other Random thoughts/notes/observations:
-Opening act The Box Elders from Omaha were outstanding. Four guitars of pure awesome on two people. Two guys played doublenecks (one a twelve string and a six string, the other a bass and a six string) but drummer Dave Goldberg stole the show by playing keyboards and percussion at the same time, holding a drumstick between his teeth to do it. He also waved his stick like a symphony conductor's baton and was just all-around impressive.
Box Elders Drummer Dave Goldberg - PHOTO BY KEEGAN HAMILTON
  • photo by Keegan Hamilton
  • Box Elders Drummer Dave Goldberg
-Huzzah for the Firebird for hosting a non-smoking show. A friend describes the experience when smoking is allowed as "inhaling a lump of coal." Staff also did a great job of keeping everybody safe despite the chaos and warning crowd surfers instead of throwing them out and creating a conflict.

-The Black Lips weren't shy (shocking, eh?) about interacting with the audience. Saint Pé -- sporting a Braves hat and gold grill on his lower teeth -- hung out at the bar during the opening acts and talked to fans about the Lips' plan to go on tour of Iraq and his idea of rock and roll: "The imperfections are perfections. We'll never play a song the same way twice."

-The guitarist also mentioned that he just bought a brand new Cadillac. When asked if he'd be bumping  "Two Dope Boyz and a Caddilac" by fellow Alanta natives Outkast he replied in the affirmative and added that he was also going to "throw some D's on it." It's nice to know that regardless of whether it's white or black, punk rock or hip-hop, the Dirty South stands united in their choice of automobiles and accessories.


Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.