The Black Lips and Mannequin Men both helped to lead up and contribute to a spectacular night of music headed by The Ponys, who we reviewed here yesterday. All three bands made for a very memorable night of music and I couldn't help thinking that if Rhino Records was to ever release a Grandchildren of Nuggets, (why isn't there one yet?) they should begin the boxset by choosing a track from each of the three bands.
Download: The Black Lips - "Buried Alive"
Ah yes, Mannequin Men...what a glorious night at Logan Square to have two fantastic Chicago bands between them and The Ponys that bring a fresh perspective into rock. I'm going to dub Mannequin Men the best band to wake someone from a coma. I'm not saying that just because they are loud (although, they definitely fit that description) but because once you'd come out of your unenlightened long term slumber, hearing the sounds of Mannequin Men would make you actually want to live. Though the band is made up of four men, it's really K. Richard that seems to bring it all together with an almost alarming stage presence. (It should be acknowledged that the others on second guitar, drums, and bass really keep the songs tight and provide for the excellent spinal cord of the band) Though he looks much like a regular guy you might pass on the street casually, on stage K. Richard is transformed as a tattoo ladened rock god that plays his guitar like it was easily an attachment of his own body. And...in it's uninhibited raw passion it's almost the equivalent of a more contained rock version of the classic Miles Davis double album Bitches Brew. Or at least it leaves you feeling the same anything is possible way. My only regret of the set is that they didn't play their cover of Sam the Sham & The Pharoas "Lil Red Riding Hood," which I enjoyed hearing immensely when I saw them play a few weeks back at Schubas Tavern.
Rarely have I experienced a live performance quite like seeing The Black Lips. This young four piece complete with an Orlando Bloom lookalike acted like a bunch of teenage boys at an incredibly gross slumber party. (I realize slumber parties are more of a girls thing but use your imagination!) Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia (they let bands get away with this kind of behavior there???), the band continually tried to do things like spit up in the air and catch their spit on the way down. With bubbles running down chins, the songs themselves were anything but sloppy. It felt incongruent to me...how could anyone act so completely silly and be able to carry the songs on as if they were focused on creating the music and nothing else? It led me to believe the band is capable of just about anything. They could probably put on an elaborate puppet show at the same time as they played with all of their might.
What I suspect is that being in a band and playing these songs is just very easy to them. It's child's play fun and man the kids liked it...(even if from time to time they were the receptacle of some of the saliva). Moshing around a bit but in a fairly controlled well mannered way, the all ages crowd showed some definite appreciation. Of course, most of these audience members I'm sure have the ability to be just as silly on stage but the real question is...do they have the talent? Although The Black Lips recorded material sounds a bit more garagey and lo fi, the dynamic live really brought out the playful but balanced elements of each song. Of course, The Black Lips is obviously a band to be seen live and experienced than anything else.