Black Lips, The, The Lamps, The Red Onions: Live at the Silverlake Lounge, June 18 (?), 2003 By Nam

Sep 09, 2003

You know what? There's suddenly been a hotbed of show activity down here in Los Angeles. All these great shows have been getting muddled in my alcohol-marinated brain. Yeah, I really can't tell you when this exactly happened but check it out: Richie asked me if I was going to the Black Lips show. I replied, "Another Black (fill-in-the-blank) band? C'mon there's The Black Eyes, The Black Widows, The Blacks, etc." I dismissed it in my mind as another passing fad like when everyone had "Jesus," "Super," or "Horse" in the name. Richie said, "They barf all over..." Well, I'm sold. Any band that has the gall to barf onstage merits at least a curiosity viewing.

Richie, his gal (our very own) Petite Paquet and my fiancé Shawn loaded up on some martinis and headed down to the Silverlake Lounge. The Silverlake Lounge is originally a Latin gay bar that features "Revue de Transvestis" (Transvestite Show) but Scott Sterling takes over a couple of nights to do The Fold, which brings experimental and off--the-radar music that raises the bar for music standards instead of pandering to the tasteless mass.

Enough background. Let's get back to the scene of the crime: Petite and I have a nightly ritual going where we yell something dumb during the set to annoy people. Tonight it was, "Ay Chihuahua!!!" and "I hate you!!!!" So try to imagine a couple of skinny girls in the front yelling this out between EVERY song. The show got underway with up and coming locals, The Red Onions - fronted by a pint-sized lead singer that packs a powerhouse of live energy. He poured a full glass of water on himself to cool off as he writhed and wiggled on the floor like an immolated monk. The Red Onions infuse a pleasing blend of arty garage with a healthy dose of rock'n'roll. The end result is an unpredictable but catchy bunch of simple compositions that defy all conventions without being too esoteric. The audience rallied around the music as opposed to most bands that leave everyone puzzled. Later, I ran into the singer guy towards the bathroom. He said his name was Paul Bunyun. I thought that was a sarcastic comment since he was so cute and tiny but what he really said was, "Paul Onion." I actually figured this out like three weeks later. Duh! (I told you - I not so smart chinkee when I drinkee.)

The Lamps are another local act that's been drawing a lot of attention from the fickle LA crowd. They're so primed and ready for In The Red Records. I immediately noticed their blend of rock'n'roll, blues, and punk rock - three staples that In The Red is known for. They played to an enthused crowd that was filled with local musicians and a bunch of "beautiful/ugly" people.

Now onto the big show... The Black Lips took to the stage. A bunch of skinny dudes from dairy land in dirty t-shirts took to the stage. Their haunting, melodic songs suddenly because more ferocious than their recorded material. I happen to like it both ways (get your mind out of the gutter); their recording sounds like they are playing at the end of a long corridor with each note ringing out long after it was strummed. It was beautifully reminiscent of a player piano in a dusty Tijuana saloon. Tonight, they were fueled by punk rock fire and brimstone. A couple of songs into the set, the bass player and the lead guitarist start to exchange blows. It was so great - like watching your brothers throw punches at each other in the car - each waiting their turn to check if the other will give in. They continued on with their set like nothing happened.

Finally, after all was said and done right at the last bar of the last song, the singer takes off his pants, exposes his gigantic ball sacs and starts to play his guitar with his manhood. Now mind you, I was not looking for his pee-pee so I didn't notice it, but what I did notice was how huge his nuts were. I mean we're talking "wow-bordering-on-elephantitis" big. Then he hurled a gigantic gob of aromatic barf all over the front of the stage. My fiancée grabbed me before any of it could hit. So what do we do after the melee? Petite and I examine the floor pizza like a couple of researchers on a petri dish. We came to the conclusion that it was Thai food. The singer guy jumps off the stage and thanks everyone personally for dancing along (how thoughtful of him - what a nice guy!) We cried, "You had Thai food!!!" He just replied, "Yeah, damn, how did you know?" Another case solved by the Party Hardy Girls. "Ay Chihuahua!!!!"