Saturday, February 16, 2008

Black Lips/Pierced Arrows/Terrible Twos @ El Rey, Valentine's Day 2008

What a fuckin' time. Valentine's Day '08 didn't bring much love, save for a few awkward gropes (alright, a few elbow jabs to the head) and a bearded drunk fuck slurring in my ear, "So, where's yer valentine?" But a brilliant triple-bill of garage punk at the El Rey made for a grand distraction, and made a fresh Terrible Twos fan of me.

A horribly misleading audience, this one, painfully still during a raucous set of man-punk by opener Terrible Twos. Even, to a slightly lesser extent, during a supporting set by Pierced Arrows, whose Fred and Toody Cole have carried over from old great garage band Dead Moon and appeased a few of us with “Dead Moon Night.” The Mister and Missus, interestingly enough, don't look much different from one another and essentially look like the male and female equivalents of one being after forty-odd years of love.

Sadly, though, even after two incredible (praise-worthy) sets, it wasn't until Black Lips started up that our crowd actually revealed itself to be one of the most vicious and energetic that any recent Black Lips show has seen in Los Angeles. Seconds in, we were swaying and stomping every which way, getting plenty covered by beers sloshing from multiple hands at once. It wasn't much a show for friendly indie kids, helping each other up and apologizing for space constraints; no, we shoved, we elbowed, we watched loads of kids steal a moment on stage before fighting off security, often for a hug with Cole Alexander. Those of us off to the side argued with those same guards over remaining within the packed boundary of the black line surrounding the main floor. That goddamned black line.

The vibe of the night was much more Halloween than Valentine's Day, save for a neon heart resting inside Joe Bradley's bass drum – lighting remained dark and dim, and even the Lips' recent, milder numbers were kept rough. They included a few goodies in their set, a cover of the King Khan and BBQ Show's “Too Much in Love” as well as one of garage classic “Wild Man,” which Alexander dedicated to his grandpa.

The band itself was milder than usual, though, particularly compared to its fans, offering up no broken bottles, none of those infamous antics or bodily displays which, as of late, have been discussed in print more than they have been seen firsthand. But they were good sports about returning the beach ball that managed its way around, at least until bassist Jared Swilley killed it by foot, and guitarist Ian St. Pe's still got his grill. And of course, they remain the rare band that's capable of making L.A. move.

Chris Campbell of Terrible Twos

Fred Cole of Pierced Arrows

Toody Cole of Pierced Arrows

Ian and his grill!

Jared and his fabulous 'stache

Joe and...Joe
Purchase The Black Lips (2003)

Listen to Terrible Twos
Listen to Pierced Arrows

P.S. On a side note, it's damn near impossible to take photos at a Black Lips show. Pardon the lack of good shots.


Anonymous said...

throw it away - one of my fav Black Lips songs. sweet.

Campfires and Battlefields said...

Looks like it was ugly bastards night at the El Rey.

China said...

Hey now, Black Lips has a reputation as a cute band! They're actually not a bad looking lot if you take away the grill and moustaches. Can't defend Terrible Twos or Pierced Arrows much, though...