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all photos: Chris Chen

I don’t know when I became a fan of the Black Lips. I had read about them and heard about how great they were live from friends and blogs, but it wasn’t until Friday night that I actually listened to their music outside of the “O Katrina”. After their breathtaking performance at The Black Cat last week I probably won’t go diving into their catalog, but I’ll sure as hell catch them anytime they’re within a three hour drive.

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The crowd at the Black Cat was rather docile the entire night, essentially getting liquored up for the closing act, but once the Black Lips hit the stage they erupted into a loud, sweaty, beer throwing, jumping mess. Accompanied by smoke machines, strobe lights, an assortment of wigs/hats and a kick ass projector the Atlanta natives love to cram big rock posturing into 3-minute garage punk anthems.  I’ve been to around 50 shows since joining BYT. This is the first one where my jaw was on the floor the entire time. It wasn’t because of the music — there are a lot of bands playing garage rock — but because of how intense they were from start to finish. These guys literally want to burn out playing music.

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Box Elders were a delightful surprise. Named after the bugs that inhabited their childhood home, the band from Omaha played honest to goodness pop songs. Granted they were detoured through semi-obscure reference points of rockabilly and Goner Records, but for a band I had no idea existed before this show I left with a 45 and a smile. The group delighted the crowd of 100 or so with 60s pop covered in a blanket of noise and a joyous delivery.

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I wasn’t sure about the band at first when brothers Clayton and Jeremiah McIntyre greeted the audience with two double neck guitars. But the excessive instruments work in the Box Elders favor. The main attraction in the group was drummer Dave Goldberg’s frantic drumming and organ playing. The music may go to strange places, but the trio seemed so intent on making sure you’re having a good time that you don’t even notice.

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