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Monday, June 24, 2024
<p>On Saturday, the Atlanta punk band, best known for its druggy, unfiltered lyrics and wild stage antics, lived up to its reputation during a sold-out set at The Back Yard in downtown Gainesville.</p>

On Saturday, the Atlanta punk band, best known for its druggy, unfiltered lyrics and wild stage antics, lived up to its reputation during a sold-out set at The Back Yard in downtown Gainesville.

The mosh pit started just before midnight. A girl, no taller than 5-foot-2, lit a dirty, broken cigarette, gripped her beer bottle tight and disappeared into a sea of beards, tattoos and empty cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. The air smelled of sweat and cheap beer. So did The Black Lips.

On Saturday, the Atlanta punk band, best known for its druggy, unfiltered lyrics and wild stage antics, lived up to its reputation during a sold-out set at The Back Yard in downtown Gainesville. The group tore through the catchy, two-minute nuggets on its latest album, “Arabia Mountain,” and pillaged its back-catalogue for noisy garage cuts. They swigged whiskey. They made out a little.

The small outdoor venue, nestled between Boca Fiesta and Palomino Pool Hall, is owned by punk veteran Warren Oakes and was packed with spectators waiting to see what the unpredictable foursome would do.

“You never know what to expect,” guitarist Cole Alexander said before the show. “You might get pregnant, you might become a born-again Christian — anything can happen.”

Described by Black Lips drummer Joe Bradley as “flower-punk,” the band incorporates a punk-rock style with blues, doo-wop and `60s psychedelic rock — sort of like if The Ramones and Buddy Holly had a lovechild, and that lovechild got kicked out of school and started smoking and drinking at a young age.

Bass guitarist Ian St. Pé said the group’s shows are largely dependent on the crowd’s energy.

“If they give off a party vibe, we’re going to party,” he explained.

The large group of moshers gathered, pushed, swayed, threw beer, stage-dove and crowd-surfed into the stiff arms of other moshers. At one point, a nimble crowd-surfer headed straight for a crash with a pillar, grabbed onto the pole and shimmied down it like a spider monkey. There were no injuries during the show — none, at least, that couldn’t be dulled by adrenaline and booze. There were, however, many lost shoes and a few lost purses that scattered the floor in front of the stage.

“This is not a show — it’s a rumble,” said Pitchfork writer William Bowers, who attended the show.

The Lips are used to this. They have played past shows drunk and nude. They once got kicked out of India for “homosexual behavior.”

Gainesville got a liplock between Anderson and St. Pé during “Oh Katrina,” a raucous shouter off their album “Good Bad Not Evil.” Other band members Bradley and Jared Swilley possessed a similar energy but refrained from any man-on-man action.

On “Arabia Mountain,” the band worked with big-time producer Mark Ronson on all except two tracks, which were produced by fellow Atlanta resident, Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt. The result is a cleaner sound and 60s flavor that distinguish the album from its rawer previous entries.

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“It took the longest it’s ever taken,” Alexander said of the album, which he said took a year to make. The band recorded previous albums in Atlanta, sometimes in a bedroom, over the course of a few weeks.

Alexander said this time was different. They traveled to a Brooklyn studio to work with Ronson, who has produced albums for artists such as Amy Winehouse.

Gainesville punk promotion company Garage Mahal Presents brought in The Black Lips. Owner Vishal Agarwala said he had met them while working for Grooveshark and attending music festivals.

“They are incredible songwriters and phenomenal showmen,” he added.

The Black Lips hit many other towns in Florida, including Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee and Jacksonville. The band’s van was vandalized in Jacksonville when some members of the audience took offense to an off-hand comment.

According to St. Pé, members of the band referred to Jacksonville as “below them.” St. Pé said they meant that Jacksonville was geographically south of Atlanta, but a few audience members thought the band implied that they were lower-class and took revenge via spray paint.

Despite having worked with an A-list producer, an appearance on Conan O’ Brien and having songs on soundtracks such as “500 Days of Summer” and “Dirty Sexy Money,” The Black Lips still seem to be the rebellious, liquor-swigging, dude-kissing-dude garage band that they have been since they formed in 1999.

“Yeah, we are still just as wild,” St. Pé said.

 

On Saturday, the Atlanta punk band, best known for its druggy, unfiltered lyrics and wild stage antics, lived up to its reputation during a sold-out set at The Back Yard in downtown Gainesville.

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