by Jack Diablo
Just a few months after the infamous incident in India that resulted in a desperate flee from the law, flower-punk outfit Black Lips rocked Jack Rabbits on March 29th.
In January, the band made quite the impression at the Campus Rock Idol showcase in Chennai, India. During the show, two members kissed each other and another exposed himself in what appeared to be a crowd-pleasing stunt. The authorities didn’t agree as both homosexuality and public displays of affection are illegal there. Rather than face time in India’s disease-ridden jails, the boys made a mad dash to get out of the country and escape prosecution.
The Atlanta-based band is well-known for performing in ways that push the boundaries of good taste. It’s what you have to expect from a band signed to Vice Magazine’s record label. Some call it lewd, but others call it plain old rock n roll. Either way you look at it, most audiences know what they’re getting into when they attend a show and their antics almost seem expected in a “What will they do next?” kind of way. Their Jacksonville appearance was relatively tame, involving no indecent exposure or inappropriate shenanigans. Chalk it up to trying to keep a low profile after the India incident or our city’s reputation for overreacting to such musicians’ stunts. After all, Jacksonville is the city that forbade Elvis from shaking his hips and arrested Marilyn Manson. You be the judge.
In a way, I was pleased that they were content to simply play what I consider to be great music and not rely on gimmicks to sell the show. Playing a mix of sloppy punk and psychedelic garage with a touch of country twang every now and then, they sound like what punk would have been had it started a decade earlier. By focusing on the music they proved, to me at least, that their music can stand on its own and that the antics are just a little bonus.
Opening for them was Gentleman Jesse and local band Bastard Lovechild Of Rock n Roll, or BLORR for short. If you’ve never seen BLORR before, it’s certainly a show worth checking out. Their onstage persona is a flamboyant, spaced-out spectacle that rivals that of Black Lips, minus the outright obscenity. Clad in some strange mix of sleaze and irony, they play rock n roll music that oozes with sex and decadence, like T. Rex if they had grown up in a beach town. I prefer their tunes with that Eagles of Death Metal feel and the grit of The Black Keys as opposed to the synthesized numbers, but electronics seem to be an indispensable part of the Jacksonville music scene, for better or worse.
Honestly, this show was the kind of thing I’d like to see more of in the future. It was a good-sized crowd and everyone was into it. I had a blast and I can’t wait for another show as fun as this one was!
by Jack Diablo