Wish You Were Hear: Crowdsurfing with the Black Lips & Coathangers

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

Last week the Black Lips returned to San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall with fellow Atlantans the Coathangers to promote Underneath the Rainbow, their latest release on Vice Records. (Incidentally, the Coathangers have their own new album out as well. It’s called Suck My Shirt on Suicide Squeeze.) It’s been three years since their last full-length Arabia Mountain came out and a few years since I’ve seen them live, so it was nice to see what garage punk’s bad boys have been up to.

The Black Lips are known for boisterous shows often splattered with booze, saliva, phlegm, urine, and blood. Having shot them at least half a dozen times in the past eight years (a couple of them at this very venue) and enduring countless kicks to the head, punches to the face, and haphazard crushing of my internal organs, I felt no special urgency to make my way to the front of the stage this time to witness their antics up close and personal. In fact, I didn’t plan to take any photos at all but, once they jumped on stage, I couldn’t not whip out my camera. The Black Lips are as dynamic and photogenic as ever, and I was pleased to see that Cole has perfected his ability to release and catch his own loogies from a variety of positions, without missing a note. They also added Zumi to saxophone and other assorted instruments to round out their sound.

From the side of the stage, it was fascinating to watch the seemingly endless procession of stagedivers and the reactions of those poor souls caught unawares by dirty Converses to the face. Were there always this many at a Black Lips show? And how does their jangly rock ‘n’ roll compel someone to jump headfirst into a crowd of strangers? But then I remembered: I did my share of stagediving and crowdsurfing when I first started going to shows as a teenager, regardless of the kind of music being played. In addition to being a rush, it was a way to physically connect with the music. On some occasions, it was the only escape out of the center of the pit in a very large arena.

For the encore, both Jared and Cole took turns surfing the crowd, and I’m sure the folks who were underneath and near them will remember those moments for the rest of their lives. On the off-chance they got a concussion and have very vague recollections of the night, they can turn to the following photos for proof.

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

 

 

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