Spit, smashed guitars and stolen canvas. Guess who? Club NME @ Sin City, Swansea (May 2)
The furry guitar lines of ‘O Katrina!’ are rollocking around the venue as lead Lip Cole Alexander flits between microphones uncontrollably, playing axe with his teeth (we don’t blame him for being peckish – the rider’s little more than a pile of Tesco Value crisps). “We’re Black Lips from Atlanta, Georgia,” he drawls, before magnificently moustachioed bassist Jared Swilley dedicates ‘Cold Hands’ to “all the pimps in here”. Cole wrings his hands as he yarns the song, a Johnny Cash number squeezed through the dirtiest amp in the West and ‘Bad Kids’ blasts like ‘Hotel Yorba’ sung by blowing bubbles in a whiskey barrel. Then he does his party trick – hurling up a gleaming ball of spittle three feet into the air before seamlessly knocking his head back to catch it in his gob. Textbook.
There’s a further barrage of four or five more flower-punk nuggets, but it’s all over in what seems like seconds. Following a swirling psych-rock wig-out that has the crowd testing the floorboards to their limits, the band retreat to the dressing room where they busy themselves keeping out manic fans, guarding the door vigilantly. A bottle of whiskey and a crate of lager later they break for the hotel, ready to rise at 7am and do the same to Dublin, craftily swiping a vile painting of a swan eyeing a naked couple on the way. Should we shop them? Nah – Black Lips just brought the best show Swansea has seen since bloody whenever. The least they deserve is a bit of nudie “art” to brighten up their van a bit.