mercredi 21 décembre 2011

Black Hole, Black Eye, Black Lips in Heaven 18.12.2011

Does what happened prior and after a gig matter in the retelling of the story?
Three months of waiting for Black Lips to play in London and the day finally comes. Is their last album really good or has their sound been corrupted (technically improved) by a dark force? Where will they go from last Heaven’s stage invasion?

For this detective work, L convened a meeting with Benjamin and me at the Sherlock Holmes. The pub unfortunately failed to deliver Sherlock’s spleen – the possibly sweet and warm bitter that took his name – but by then we hadn’t lost our wits and compensated with plenty bourbon and ales.

At 8.30pm on the dot we chose to join the rest of the party in Heaven. Throwing Up had already played (who would have guessed they were to make a late encore?) and it was Acid Baby Jesus’ turn. I must say, I am not being comical; I think Club Heaven might just choose these bands for their names (last time I went to Heaven, Holy Fuck was playing).

Acid Baby Jesus were alright but while they strummed their strings in dramatic poses, I couldn’t help but hearing P French (in spirit) nagging me about the fact that this 60s revival has been going on for too long and is pointless and a bit sickening. He was talking about Black Lips’ last album but if I concede it might be true for ABJ, I don’t think that is the case for Arabia Mountain – I suspect he is too focused on the dark force.

I have been listening a lot to Arabia Mountain and I’ve got nothing against the fact that they ditched the rusty sound. If one thing, it only used to make the band more gimmicky; and if there must be a saxophone, be it. I take it as a Stooges’ homage.

Anyway, Acid Baby Jesus finish their set, much more waiting and a surprising 60s selection of obscure tunes (which by now everyone knows) and Black Lips turn up on stage.

First observation, Cole Alexander can sing on the album, not live. They might have recorded with the most up to date auto-tune or they did a thousand takes but the technology wasn’t available this evening. Is it a fair point for a punkish band? Probably not but you couldn’t help but notice.

They played a mixture of new songs (no ornaments), old songs, and fans’ favourite (Dirty Hands and al). We had a shower of toilet paper, a surfing giant Christmas cracker pulled from the decorum and a lot of crowd surfers that never made it to the front until the last song when the bouncers were told to give up the job they so successfully achieved before. Stage invasion.

Second observation: how do you top a stage invasion? Make sure you orchestrate one a second time.
And that was it for the gig. We left swiftly. Of course we didn’t know by then that somewhat Black Lips had planted the seeds of reckless inebriety in all of us. It took only a few more beers and 3 cocktails.

I woke up a first time completely dressed, lying on the floor of my living room. I thought ‘– silly you, you must have fallen asleep’ and went to bed. I woke up a second time, much later, about 4 in the afternoon with my left eye not fully open. I looked at HEAVEN stamped on the back of my left hand and felt a noticeable pain in most of my body parts. The mirror revealed a sort of pencilled black eye, Boy George style, made out of the usual black eye purple fluids. It hasn’t left yet.

And I’m sad to say I can’t remember a thing. Might have been beaten up, might have not. What does a brainless body do on a 30 minute walk home? Make love to the pavement? Throws itself like a pellet on a brick wall? The only piece of information I have is that apparently an angel lovingly lifted my head from the toilet where I had fallen asleep at 3am and helped me to lie on the sofa. The angel wasn’t impressed the day after when the story was told.

So in this light, in 2012 I will make sure that the seeds Blacks Lips had sawn on that evening have been fully uprooted and laid to rest.
Because they must.

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