Thursday night’s billing at Brooklyn Steel was pretty self explanatory. The Black Lips and The Black Angels were in town to wreak havoc with anyone willing enough to step into their world of heavily-distorted fun that could be categorized as either nouveau punk or the latest version of psychedelia. However you’d like to describe the immersive experience of seeing these two very authentic bands, one fact is now clear - about 1,500 fans who were in attendance at last night’s show are now more liberated, and probably closer to early-age hearing loss than they had been a few hours prior.
The Black Lips started out the evening with their mix of songs which have been accumulated over their two decade history. Their introduction to a handful of new unapologetic psychedelic cowboy tunes mixed in with a meat and potatoes rock attitude really allows the group to live up to their name and reputation. The band’s tireless tenacity is easily contagious, and certainly helps to give them an edge. It's the subtle musical contributions like Zumi Rosow’s saxophone tone from the another dimension however that gives them a unique and truly authentic flavor unlike any band in rock at the moment.
The Black Lips’ opening set was strong enough to leave any band who had the misfortune of following them standing in a puddle of their own urine. Thankfully, The Black Angels are cut from the same dark and freakishly hypnotic cloth, which allowed them to come right in and pick up where the Lips left off in turning the Brooklyn venue into a large metal box filled with psych rock fury. The Angels began their own 90-minute trip with the haunting opening guitar riff of “Young Men Dead,” and from thereon out, it was a mix of strobe lights and drone-esque distortion levels that could only be rivaled by the collective roars of mentally disturbed dinosaurs at full blast.
The band is serious, but their musical message is honest fun. Perhaps that's why fans are so quick to dive deep into their sound with hesitation or fear. It takes a special kind of adventurous spirit to embrace the darker side of psychedelia from which the band draws their inspiration. Thankfully, when you're surrounded by a nonstop barrage of noise, and more often than not the parts of their songs bleed into each other like overflowing cans of day-glow paint, there's no need to overthink. Just tune in, turn on and drop out.