Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013
As the Black Lips neared the end of their set at the Lincoln Theatre Saturday night, they launched into sing-along punk jingle “Bad Kids." The move invited at least one last surge from the crowd, as a single young dancer occupying the space between bassist Jared Swilley and drummer Joe Bradley soon led to a few dozen crashing the stage. It may have been done unknowingly, though that’d be surprising for a group as known for its wild shows as the Lips. But it seemed like an apt reward for the clutch of sweaty fans that, throughout the night, provided enough energy to help fuel the Atlanta quartet despite the half-full venue.
The headliners took the stage following 30 minutes of spunky riot grrrl raves from Cincinnati’s Tweens, whose fuzzy bass and fist-in-the-air chants could soundtrack a back-alley rumble behind a roller rink. Swilley and fellow vocalist Cole Alexander fought through early microphone and monitor troubles that even the one-two punch of Arabia Mountain
’s “Modern Art” and “Family Tree” could not overcome. For a moment, it seemed as those technical difficulties paired with the lackluster turnout—at least compared to the full house of the act’s 2011 Hopscotch performance in the same room—might dampen the Black Lips’ spirits. But the pack of teens and 20-somethings holding fort at the front of the stage wouldn’t have it: They formed a frenetic pit that lasted until the swaying, anthemic “Dirty Hands” had proven the four-piece was back on track.
The Black Lips pulled from all over its considerable catalog of psych-tinged garage rock but throttled down from its fast and furious pace only for the druggy haze of “Hippie Hippie Hoorah” and a slower, bluesy number—apparently referred to as “Wild Boys in the Woods”—from its forthcoming record. The handful of other new tunes fit the format the band’s long followed. That longevity was evident when they dug back to a pre-Lips tune for the encore, along with “Bow Down and Die” from The Almighty Defenders, the group’s collaboration with King Khan and Mark Sultan.