Black Lips came out of Atlanta in the early part of the 21st Century as one of the more promising garage-rock-psychedelic-revivalist bands in years. (The band prefers the term “flower-punk.”) If you were one of those retro-minded souls who loved the Nuggets or Pebbles compilations, Black Lips’ 2005 album Let It Bloom was your kind of thing. But, by the time of the band’s 2007 commercial breakthrough album Good Bad Not Evil, the music was being completely overshadowed by the band’s onstage antics — mass stage-diving, kissing each other, pissing on themselves, slapping their schlongs against their guitar strings, etc. And then, in the past couple of years, it was the band’s offstage antics that were overshadowing their music: Black Lips claimed to be kicked out of India; they were going to play the part of a Replacements-like band in a new movie (they later backed out); the band members formed innumerable side projects. And then, last fall, bassist Jared Swilley got into a juvenile internet feud with Nathan Williams of San Diego’s Wavves, which led to a bloody altercation at a New York bar (and more juvenile internet feuding).
In the midst of all this craziness, Black Lips actually put out a pretty good record last year. 200 Million Thousand was far weirder, more psychedelic, and murkier-sounding than Good Bad Not Evil, as though the band were trying to scare off the frat-boy element that had started to creep into its shows. A couple of songs, “Trapped in a Basement” and “I Saw God,” sound like Roky Erickson and the Thirteenth Floor Elevators at their scariest. The other songs sound like obscure and awesomely freaky ’60s singles you’d find on a compilation somewhere.
- Sunday, January 24, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
- Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego