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Garage rock collides with indie pop as Black Lips, Ariel Pink drop by Bimbo’s 365 Club

Black Lips


Black Lips

Photos by Victoria Smith // Written by Emmanuel Castro //

Black Lips & Ariel Pink //
Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco
October 14th, 2015 //

Atlanta’s Black Lips exploded into SF’s hidden gem of Bimbo’s 365 Club, creating an unlikely contrast of a spit-in-your-face, garage-rock band in a club that would be suited for the rat pack.

Garage punk to their core and looser than geese, the band that is known for its high-energy, unpredictable and anything-goes shows seemed a bit tame for a group with such a reputation. That was until the crowd filled in and the band played the sought-after song “Katrina”. Finally, it was the Black Lips again giving the show everyone expects: crowd surfers, shirt losers and guitarist Cole Alexander catching his own spit from the air. Being true to its lyrics, the band ended with “Bad Kids” and earned the sea of beer that was chucked at them from the crowd. Thus began the weirdest intermission and largest exodus of the entire crowd of potential smokers or mere fresh air seekers exiting out front, leaving just four souls holding fort in front of the stage.

It would probably be pretty entertaining and informative to see a debate between somebody like astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson and Ariel Pink. Somewhere between the lines of Pink’s songwriting, there is a bottled-up genius, and nobody but a genius could write such strange songs except for maybe R. Stevie Moore, whom Pink made a 61-track double EP with in 2011 entitled KuKlux Glam.

Ariel Pink


Ariel Pink

Pink’s set began uncertain of direction with the crowd wondering when they would play a more recognizable favorite. Suddenly, as if it were never going to happen, the band broke into “Number in my Phone” and “Only in My Dreams”, waking the eager crowd up from any confusion.

Pink’s backing band is the perfect blend of an American Apparel ad mixed with Hedwig and the Angry Inch ensemble, with Ariel holding their passports for ransom to ensure full dedication. They are clearly from Los Angeles — in the great way. During “White Freckles” the large-pupiled crowd jumped at the chance to mosh like it was its only opportunity, knocking over drinks, other people and innocence in the process.

Pink’s ever-endearing shyness made it unclear whether he enjoyed the show or not. Between the last song of the set and the encore, which seemed like an eternity in terms of show standards, half the audience left thinking the band wouldn’t reemerge. When it finally did, the true believers were treated to a three-song ending with “Four Shadows” and a “goodnight.”

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