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all photos: Chris Chen

Pastiche (n): a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources. Don’t be scared. The chapters are really short.

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Chapter 1
Julia Sugarbaker: You know, Ms. Gibbs, growing up in the rural part of Georgia, I’ve been around compost all my life. I’ve seen it loaded onto wagons, and tilled and hoed and spread across fields far and wide. But until today, I must say, I have never seen it tied up and gift wrapped in quite so neat and tidy and pretty a package. Congratulations, you’re a very clever girl. [Pause] But it’s still…compost. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you to dig your way out…

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Chapter 2
Audience reactions:
Jeff K.: They are always awesome. Kinda make me want to either (1) be sixteen and drunk or (2) hit on drunk sixteen year olds.

Ming M.: I’m kinda more into electro-pop.

Jenn I.: Well, I felt like everyone was drunk. The band was drunk, the crowd was drunk. I wasn’t drunk. I just wasn’t feeling it…
Guy next to me: I’m just waiting for Cole to piss in his mouth.

Me: [Silently: Is that even possible? Well, I guess. Oh my gawd, ewww.]

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Chapter 3
There are a handful of shows in the course of any given year, when waiting in anticipation for the headliner (or whomever you’re there to see), you’re fairly certain there isn’t anywhere on Earth you’d rather be. And as much as I’d love to write a completely objective review of how they played this song or that, or how this song reflects blah-blah influences, or is eerily reminiscent of this other band. I can sum it up in two words: shit sandwich. Hey now, wait. I mean “shit sandwich” in a good way. No, no, no, wait, wait. It’s possible.
Hear me out. The extraordinary thing about these kids is that they originate from the cradle bed of mediocrity: Dunwoody, Georgia. They’ve traveled the world (more than 30 countries) doing nothing but conjuring mayhem, all the while pissing the occasional person and/or countries off. And they do it on a pretty tight schedule. It’s really quite fascinating. The only show I’ve ever seen at the Black Cat that topped this night was Gogol Bordello. I braced myself, knowing that landing spine first on the Red Room’s bar, for all the floor-shaking that was going on, was a distinct and very real possibility. It was a haze of Russian flags, stomping/dancing/chanting. And it was glorious.
Eugene Hutz & Co. kind of set that gold standard there for me. So, I’ll work my way back. Take away the floor-shaking. Add a lot more alcohol (perhaps kerosene). Factor in cigarettes up noses, climbing water mains, crowd surfing, pilgrim outfit (or was he a warlock, hmm, maybe leprechaun), four guys who are enjoying themselves just as much as you’re enjoying watching them, incredibly natural discussion with an adoring audience and one of the most sophisticated lighting jobs I’ve ever seen on the main stage. I mean, did I mention the smoke machine? There was a smoke machine. I’m certain the pictures will do a better job of recounting this show. Let’s hope, anyway.
If you missed it, there really isn’t anything I can do to make it better. Amazingly, the show wasn’t sold out, so you have only yourself to thank. I told you to go!

And please, let me just absolutely confirm that Cole did not pee-pee in his mouth. This time.

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Chapter 4
Deep Thoughts with the Black Lips

“Rock and roll isn’t perfect, but it was never meant to be.” – Ian St. Pe
“Don’t die. Multiply. F*ck all night!!! (Repeated three times) – Jared Swilley
“All right, Soundman, unplug that shit. We’re done.” – Cole Alexander
“1, 2, 3…” – Joe Bradley

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Chapter 5
Question 1: Energy drinks or drugs?

Question 2: Is “Veni, Vidi, Vici” named after that Italian restaurant on Fourteenth Street?

Question 3: Does Ian St. Pe look more like Bob Dylan or Elvis?

Question 4: Can you guess a motif here, see infra, pastiche definition?

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Chapter 6
If you can read this, thank a teacher. And if your formative years were spent in some suburb where you were ridiculed or chastised for not buying into some empty idea of normalcy, well, thank the Black Lips. They are on your side. And you definitely want them there.
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