Black Lips gets rowdy at The Lodge Room, Los Angeles

Loud, raucous, supersonic.

I’ve been dying to see a show at The Lodge Room for years. Its a fantastic venue inside an old Masonic lodge from the 1920s that’s been converted into a live performance powerhouse in Los Angeles, with all the necessary modern niceties you’d expect — all the chic, stylized charm that you want. I was there to cover the Black Lips and, in typical fashion, had arrived a few hours too early. I milled around the multiple green rooms and chatted with the two opening acts for a bit before making my way out to stage left to shoot World Destroyers’ Pleasure Club.

They’re a four-piece comprised of guitar, bass, keys, and drums played on a standing kit. They played an energetic set that was Talking Heads in the front and ESG in the back. The crowd filled in and they finished strong with a pleasantly unexpected cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire”.

Soft Palms was up next, a husband/wife project with Julia Kugel on guitar and vox, and Scott Montoya on drums. Their combined pedigree of The Coathangers and White Woods (Julia), and The Growlers (Scott) is very evident in the subtly hard-hitting and sultry vibes from their set. 

The Black Lips came on next, with Zumi Roscow (sax, vox) coming out first to throw flowers to the crowd. The rest of the group — comprised of Jared Swilley (bass, vox), Cole Alexander (guitar, vox), Jeff Clarke (guitar, vox), and Oakley Munson (drums, vox) — took the stage and got straight to it. The crowd got rowdy and I got stuck in the mosh for the first few songs. For being a longtime fan and never having seen them before, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Experiencing a true rock-and-roll show is becoming a rare treat.

However, this band embodies the spirit. The grungy unique lyrics are a natural fit with their twangy punk sound. I finally managed to make my way through the masses to stage left just in time for “Get It On Time”, a slightly more mellow tune that ramps up to a chant, almost like gospel. Cole was absolutely belting it, drawing the song out longer and faster until it seemed like it couldn’t fit in the room anymore. What a highlight of the night.

I moved backstage for some crowd shots during “Family Tree” and, again, got too absorbed to focus on what I was doing. Being able to see the crowd from (almost) the band’s perspective and seeing them sing along and shove each other made me very happy. I fought my way through the crowd for a final time to get up to the soundboard for some wides during “Gentlemen” and, just like it started, it was over.

The Black Lips are a must-see.

They’re not only producing some of the best music, they’re producing some of the best performances of any contemporary band right now. I’m not sure if it’s my binge listening habit, but all of their tunes have a distinct nature to them… almost like they were meant to exist and have always existed. Their new album Apocalypse Love follows suit and should absolutely be queued up for your next aimless late-night drive.

Photography by Carl Perry

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