What’s the best cure for an exhausting work week and a series of bad days? Answer: loud and fast punky garage rock, à la Black Lips. This Georgia band put on a wildly entertaining show at The Regent Theater on Friday night. Just as fun to watch as the band on stage, though, were the crowd antics: mosh pits, flying toilet paper, and stage dives galore.
When the lights went out, and the band came on stage to play their first song of the evening, the energy in the room changed. What started off as giddy anticipation transformed into complete and utter euphoria. Popular tunes like “Bad Kids” and “O Katrina!” set off an explosive mosh pit. Bodies slammed into one another as grinning faces sang along to the music. At the same time, rolls of toilet paper soared through the air like comets. The excitement the Black Lips had stirred up in the audience was so strong it was almost tangible.
The band is apparently used to having toilet paper hurled at them, because they dodged the flying tissue with ease. At one point, a roll landed on drummer Oakley Munson’s drum kit as he was playing. I don’t know how he did it, but he somehow swept it away while he was drumming, without missing a single hit. I was impressed.
There was also no shortage of crowd surfers or stage divers. Throughout the show, fans would hop on stage to dance with the band for a few seconds before leaping into the crowd below and riding back down on a sea of hands. What was really remarkable was the role of security in this. I’ve been to a lot of concerts, and usually, whenever a fan ventures onto the stage, security is quick to pluck them back down. That didn’t happen at the Black Lips show. Security let enthusiastic fans dance, leap, and crowd surf as they pleased. Actually, during the whole hour-long set, only one person was pulled off stage, and that was a young woman who got up there and humped bassist Jared Swilley’s leg.
Overall, Black Lips’ show was fun and cathartic. After a long and stressful week, I was grateful to get the chance to jam to their wonderfully evocative music. I even threw around a couple of rolls of toilet paper for good measure. I didn’t mosh or stage dive, though…even though I kind of wanted to!
I overheard someone in the audience say he felt like he had stepped into a time warp. I can definitely see where he was coming from; the band’s loud and fast guitar licks and rebellious screams were reminiscent of the post-punk sound of the 1980s. I would also say it was like a time warp in the sense that it was a suspension of time. This was a safe space, an escape, where stress and worry didn’t exist. Fans could dance, shout, and mosh with wild abandon—and revel in the freedom of diving off stage.
See more photos from the show HERE.