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Review: The Black Lips at El Club – 5.12.17

The Black Lips

by David Gimpel

Atlanta garage-rockers The Black Lips came prepared to party on Friday night on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Detroit’s El Club. The Black Lips are on the road in support of their eighth studio album: Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? The double album is produced by Sean Lennon, and in a lot of ways recalls The Beatles White Album by showing each band members’ personality, but still is a 100% The Black Lips. This album adds full-time saxophonist Zumi Rosow, the debut of drummer Oakley Munson, and the return of guitarist Jack Hines. It proves the Black Lips still know how to get their kicks, as they proved again at El Club.

Starting the show, all the way from Syria, was singer and mother f**king party starter, Omar Souleyman. Despite the language barrier the crowd was into his music many of the patrons were there for him. Omar started his career as a wedding singer, and if you have ever been to a Middle Eastern wedding, then you know it’s one big party. Tonight was no different, and after his set the crowd kept dancing with the dj spinning records until The Black Lips came out.

The Black Lips walked on stage to a packed room already filled with energy and mugginess from the dance party that had been going on all night. They kicked things off old school with “Sea Of Blasphemy” off their 2005 album Let It Bloom and a few minutes ino the second track of the night “Modern Art” off of the album Ariba Mountain , they noticed there were not enough amps on stage. They asked the crowd if anyone had an amp in their car if they could borrow it, you never know what can happen at a Black Lips show. Eventually, the staff at El Club were able to fix the problem and helped made the band sound great.

The nice thing about seeing shows by The Black Lips is that they make you feel like you are in a garage with them, or at a house party with all of your drunk friends and are allowed to trash the house. Throughout the night there was plenty of stage diving, crowd surfing, and moshing. The madness originated with the band members, as everyone in the room is singing along.

Some of my personal favorite moments from the show were when the new saxophone player came into play on songs like “Can’t Hold On”. The track where she really got shine  was “Family Tree”. The chemistry between her and the singer/guitarist Cole was contagious. The band’s on stage banter is almost as good as the music, throwing out lines like “We need to practice that one more,” at the end of the song “Hippies”. In between each song, someone in the band had a witty comment ready. It felt like you were hanging out with them, rather than seeing a band perform.

They closed the set with the track “Raw Meat,” another stand out from Arabia Mountain. If you have a minute to kill, you should read the story about how this song was made, and how it nearly killed producer Mark Ronson. After the song was finished, The Black Lips seemed to wait nearly 10 minutes before they came out and did an encore. First, an obscure cover “Wild Man” originally by The Tamerons. Then they played the crowd sing along “Bow Down and Die”. Nothing like a good sing along to end the night!

Setlist:
Sea Of Blasphemy
Modern Art
Can’t Hold On
Dirty Hands
Oh! Katrina
Make It
Family Tree
The Last Cul-De Sac
Boys In The Woods
Hippies
Stranger
We Know
Occidental Font
Stone Cold
Rebel Intuation
Noc-A-Homa
Raw Meat

Encore:
Wild Man
Bow Down and Die

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