Photo by: Tim Draut
If you managed to escape the Great American Music Hall last night without getting hit in the face by a beer, a shoe, an elbow, or a drink tray, you probably fucked up. The rowdy double bill of Atlanta hotheads Black Lips and The Coathangers proved to be a stomping ground for first-time stage divers, and a Monday night to be remembered (or perhaps forgotten, depending on how many beers you had).
The Coathangers are easily one of the most energetic live acts to be fired out of the Burger Records cannon as of late, with Suicide Squeeze Records handling the crux of the band’s vinyl releases since 2007. After parting ways with former keyboardist Candice Jones (Bebe Coathanger), the female power punk outfit went on to release one of their strongest albums to date, Suck My Shirt (out earlier this month)–taking SXSW by storm. Wearing matching t-shirts, the trio opened with “Johnny”, as primary guitarist Julia Kugel (Crook Kid Coathanger) and drummer Stephanie Luke (Rusty Coathanger) swapped lead vocal duties throughout the set.
A man dressed in a horse costume danced around the stage for “Follow Me”, returning to the stage for the last couple of songs. Crook Kid powered through the set in spite of a shitty guitar cord, skipping the high strings during the “Springfield Cannonball” chorus. Rusty led the trio to victory, growling through songs like “Sicker” and “Adderall”. The Coathangers pulled their signature move of swapping instruments mid-set, with Rusty playing guitar on “Shut Up” and Meredith Franco (Minnie Coathanger) dropping her bass to sing lead on “Nestle In My Boobies.”
The Coathangers are always a tough act to follow, but the Black Lips (just barely) managed to pulled it off. The Atlanta foursome welcomed their friend Zumi on stage to play saxophone, with a fog machine creating some next-level visual effects, bro. Dudes from the crowd were literally ripping their shirts (and occasionally pants) off and awkwardly leaping from the stage. The Black Lips opened with “Family Tree” and “Modern Art”, stammering through fan favorites like “O Katrina!” and “Bad Kids”–finishing with “M.I.A” before a three-song encore.
They introduced a few new songs from their latest LP, Underneath the Rainbow, achieving a competent four-part vocal harmony on “Boys In The Wood” as Jared Swilley strained to comb the excess sweat out of his oily hair. At 10:42pm I narrowly dodged an airborne shoe as the band prepared to play its final farewell, complete with two guitar players briefly diving into the frenzied crowd. Black Lips thanked their San Francisco fans, thus concluding a riotous night of rock and roll at the Great American Music Hall.