Once upon a time, standing at the front at a Black Lips show put you in imminent danger of getting puked on, pissed on, or both. But that, bassist Jared Swilley told me in an interview last year, was only because, "We really couldn't play that well. Live, we were really, really bad." At the time, Swilley told me that the band has grown up some, and would like to be known for their music, rather than their youthful stage antics. Unfortunately, that'll be tough, since their stage antics continue to get them into trouble. Not too long ago, the band got kicked out of Indiaand not because lead singer Cole Alexander pulled a Hendrix and played the guitar with his cock, either. Alexander's been known to make out with his bandmates onstage, and it was the public guy-on-guy action that earned them the boot. But the band keeps moving forward despite their enduring notoriety, and their latest album, 200 Million Thousand, proves that they're trying to move on as musicians as well as people. While the album retains the band's established lo-fi, garage aesthetic furthered by the band's devotion to tape recordings rather than digital recordingsthe actual sound has regressed further into the realm of the fuzzy, psychedelic '60s garage band. It's an ambitious record that departs from the revivalist (flower) punk style the band's known for, but as much as the Black Lips would like us to think they've changed, grown up, become more matureits time to call bullshit. You may not get pissed on at their shows anymore, but if the band's toned it down, its been done gradually and with great reluctance.
Sat., April 25, 8 p.m., 2009