It was during a break in “Hippy, Hippy, Hurrah,” a slow mystical number, conspicuously inserted between number after number of rambunctious flower punk and unhinged garage rock, that Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander raised his hands over the crowd, wiggled his fingers, and unleashed a loud booming, “WHOOSH” through his microphone. It was as if he was casting a spell on the crowd. “WHOOSH.” There it was, another spell. The trick didn’t get old. “WHOOOOOSH.” “Oh, man, we’re in trouble now,” I thought to myself. I expected to look around the crowd and see everyone sporting a bushy, black moustache and a backwards ball cap. I looked to my left, and to my right, and there weren’t any new moustaches, so my next thought was, “So, the spell didn’t make us all look like Black Lips, maybe it was something more innocent, like, a spell to help us let loose and have a good time.” I’m pretty sure, that was it.
Even without the added hoodoo voodoo, it’s hard not to have a good time at a Black Lips show. One on side of the stage, you have Ian St Pe flashing goofy faces at the crowd, and on the other side, there’s Alexander, spitting into the air, trying to catch it back in his mouth. Then there was Jared Swilley, front and center, sporting a striped tee, and a handle-bar moustache, bouncing the whole night like he had Mexican jumping beans stuffed in his shorts, and drummer Joe Bradley, bopping his head back and forth, and swaying his shoulders to his own beat. And let’s not forget the music. “Boomerang,” “Bad Kids,” “Not a Problem,” and “Cold Hands,” all had that same rowdy spirit, clanging and banging with plenty of reverb, and wonderfully out of tune, as the front of the crowd became a mass of heads bopping, toes tapping, and kids getting down. A minor stage diving accident during “Cold Hands” sapped some of the energy, but after a moment of concern from the Lips, they got right back to their rag tag, ramshackle Rock ‘n’ Roll with “Fairy Stories.” In all, the set lasted 17 songs and also included a cover of King Khan & BBQ Shows, “Too Much In Love,” and ended with a cover of Chuch Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business,” a fitting theme song for this band of bad kids if I ever heard one.