“A bath in dirty sex, whiskey and wood chips”: Portrait of the BLACK LIPS and fans in words and photos

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I. Cole Alexander. Is the person in the Black Lips whose phone number I have because one night he said on Twitter that he was bored. And since I am always on Twitter, also bored, we DM’d and I sent him pictures of my Halloween costume. He also had black plastic spider rings.
II. Matt the Tour Manager. He asks a security guard if they have more security guards to security guard the front the row. They seem to think this will not be necessary. Matt knows differently. The tour managers always know differently.
III. The Security Guard. He leans, stage left, against an amp stack as bodies fall around him, young girls get hurt, people go up on each others’ shoulders. Kids smoke pot. He does not care about any of this. He is not security guarding very well.
IV. The Stoner. A generic catch-all for a Black Lips crowd but this guy  on a lot of hallucinogens and wants to dance using his whole body. He waves his arms like they are spaghetti noodles and takes up three body places at once. He pushes against us all and weaves himself into a throng.
V. The Shirtless Guy. He didn’t start off shirtless. But he’s come over to the side near me to strip off several layers. It is easier to sweat all over people during moshing, when you are shirtless.
Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com VI. The Girl with the Brown Hair, White Top and Green Shorts. She is so happy to be above the crowd’s heads, and on their hands. They pass her to the front. And then
VII. Cole Alexander. He wanders over towards the lip of the stage where she is being surfed and she beams at him. He leans in and sucks the face off of her. It is one of the BEST moves I have ever seen in a live show. And
VIII. The Girl with the Brown Hair, White Top and Green Shorts. She looks at the rest of the crowd like “Did you just see that?” We did and it was great. Here she is having fun.
IX. Jared Swilley. His hair is slick into a car mechanic’s gritty pomp, his white shirt is missing a pack of Marlboroughs curled up in the sleeve but that’s fine. He thanks us, thanks us very much. ‘Specially as the last time the Black Lips were here, Vancouver literally rioted after a hockey game. He is a handsome man in front, and he rocks out.
X. The Songs. Garage punk rockabilly messy stuffs. “Family Tree starts”, “Modern Art” is just so, so great. New song “Drive By Buddy” is in there, and “we’re going to slow this one down” for “Boys in the Wood” from newbie Underneath the Rainbow is in there too. “Noc a Homa” makes me want to frug. “Dirty Hands” is so fucking grimy. “Not a Problem.” Nah, not a problem. And I’m feeling like I’ve been taking a bath in dirty sex, whiskey and wood chips. It’s kind of great.
XI. Joe Bradley. Is swimming in his own juices. His is the frenetic backbone. I love drummers. They are occasionally important.
XII. Cole Alexander. Licks the neck of his guitar again before he throws himself with said guitar into the
XIII. Bad Kids. So many of them. They heave left and push me into the wall.
XIV. The Boy with the Weird Al Yankovic Hair and the Evaporators Shirt. He has brought hand-drawn comics, home-made pins and drawings he did while on mushrooms. His friend who is a girl has long pink hair and glaesses. They are big fans. He gives a bag of all of his art to
XV. Cole Alexander. Who hugs me and invites me, and them, backstage. He is polite to the kids. He signs everything they proffer. He also wanders around aimlessly a lot.
XVI. Ian St. Pé. Is leaning against a ledge looking exhausted, he is drinking soda water. When I tell him that I shot them three weeks ago at the Scoot Inn at SXSW, he says “that’s why you look familiar.”
XVII. The Nice Girl Backstage. “Bands probably just want to relax and not deal with us,” she says to me. “Yes, for example, look at
Ian St Pé,” I say. “He has his head down on his arm.”
XVIII. Jared Swilley. Has changed into a nice button-down blue long-sleeve shirt . He has a torn rotator cuff from a while back and is in pain. He is rotating his torn rotator. He doesn’t like to take a lot of pain killers so I try to massage it but give up, distractedly. He, like all members of the Black Lips, is incredibly polite. More so than you think a dick-swingin’, rough-housin’, mouth-shootin’, saliva-spittin’ band could be. It surprises you.
XIX. Cole Alexander. Invites me the club “You should come,” he says.
XX. Jared Swilley. Is going to be DJing. At the club is the
XXI. The Boy with the Weird Al Yankovic Hair and the Evaporators Shirt and some of the
XXII. Bad Kids. Except a girl half my age recognizes my earrings in the shape of 45rpm record adapters/inserts, and I thank David Bowie that the Kids are alright.
XXIII. Cole Alexander. Arrives the club, where’s it deep read lighting and narrow. He hugs me again. Looks lost. Is he bruised from earlier in the week’s kerfuffle over comments in the press? I buy him a double whiskey soda. He tells me I’m sweet.
XXIV. Bev Davies. Legendary Vancouver punk rock photographer shows up. She chats to Jared and we chat about Anton Newcombe, and Austin Psych Fest. Legend is legendary.
XXV. Jared Swilley. Takes over from the DJ playing Devo and crunchy punk, and injects some gritty Americana and some rockabilly into the speakers. It makes me smile.
XXVI. Cole Alexander. Has drinks tickets now and wants to repay me. “Those are for you,” I say. He continues to sign anything that the Bad Kids put in front of him, and chats with a friend who’s arrived. We say our goodbyes at 1:30am in the hallway where he’s looking lost, again, and texting Tour Manager Matt on an iPhone with a shattered screen. At 3:30am he also texts me to say “U is cool.”
XXVII. Black Lips. No, actually, THEY is cool. \m/

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Black Lips, pic by Mikala Folb/backstagerider.com

Posted by Mikala   @   30 March 2014

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