The Mark of Excellence

Black Lips

Olympic Community Hall, Halifax, NS, October 20

By Matthew RitchieNo penises were whipped out on stage. No one bled, nor did anyone piss in each other's mouths. It seems as if the vaguely erotic stage presence from the early days of Black Lips is long gone. The Atlanta group no longer need to rely on gimmicks to get attention — the songs do all the talking.

Performing a set heavy on Arabia Mountain, the flower-punk quartet unleashed ramshackle renditions of "Family Tree" and "Modern Art," as well as joints off the somewhat forgettable 200 Million Thousand. Unburdened by Mark Ronson's studio polish, the visibly inebriated rockers performed with unbridled ferocity as fans crowd-surfed and threw beer cans around the venue.

Strutting underneath a bedazzled disco ball in the shape of a human skull, bassist Jared Swilley grinned from ear-to-ear as Cole Alexander jumped into the band's back catalogue, ripping through versions of "O Katrina!" and "Drugs," asking where the after-party was on break between songs.

Playing for well over an hour, the Southern rockers' East Coast debut was a major highlight of the festival and proof that this band continue to be well worth the hype.

To see Exclaim!'s Halifax Pop Explosion photo gallery, courtesy of Lindsay Duncan, head here.

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