Article and Photos by: Jason Robey
PHOENIX, AZ — Atlanta punk rockers, The Black Lips, brought their high-energy live show to the Crescent Ballroom last Sunday. The room was alive with the bouncing and moshing of their following, as they plowed through an hour-long set, comprised of 18 songs, and spanning the band’s nearly-20-year career.
The night started with 45 minutes of music from the self-described acid-glam group Timmy’s Organism, a side project of vocalist/guitarist Timmy Vulgar, also known as the frontman for Detroit punk band, Human Eye. Vulgar and his group came out swinging with heavy punk tunes, reminiscent of early Misfits, opening with “Mind Over Matter,” from their 2012 album, Raw Sewage Roq. The group packed in 10 songs from their three previous studio albums, plus the soon-to-be-released Eating Colors. Vulgar also showed off his love of stage theatrics, emptying a can of Silly String on the crowd, playing a song with a giant scary mask, and ending the set by jumping off the stage and placing his guitar in the hands of one of the audience members to finish the song.
Between bands, local DJ Gila Man spun records for the crowd for about thirty minutes, before The Black Lips took the stage, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with their opening song, “Sea of Blasphemy,” from their 2005 release, Let It Bloom, followed quickly by “Modern Art,” from 2011’s Arabia Mountain. Throughout the night, the band often played under a muted blue light, causing vocalist/guitarist Cole Alexander’s bright red shirt to glow, as the rest of the stage looked almost black and white. The lighting would alternate between this look and heavy washes of green and red light, complementing the psychedelic influence mixed with their punk and rock n’ roll roots.
Alexander took few breaks to talk with the crowd, instead moving the band quickly from one song to the next, stopping only to promote their new album, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, before each of the five songs played from the record.
Following a raucous take on “Time of the Scab,” from their 2004 release, We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow, the group took a short leave from the stage. They returned for a two so good encore of “Smiling” and “Raw Meat,” this time leaving get the stage for good, to the sounds of the crowd chanting for just one more song.