Show Review: Black Lips/The Coathangers @ Assembly – 3/25/2014


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Sacramento was brought to life with a surge of vociferous energy when Black Lips and The Coathangers rolled through town last night. Those who packed the small venue of the Assembly on K Street went in for a show and came out with an experience.

The night began with the lovely ladies of The Coathangers taking the stage. I had the privilege of seeing them not once, not twice, but three times at SXSW in Austin earlier this month and I was stoked to see them perform in my hometown, to say the least. The moment they got up there, the Atlanta, GA punk-rockers had an electric stage presence. From their matching outfits to their almost-animated movements, these girls are very obviously badass. It’s not surprising they even have stage names: Minnie Coathanger (Meredith Franco) on bass/vocals, Crook Kid Coathanger (Julia Kugel) on guitar/vocals, and Rusty Coathanger (Stephanie Luke) on drums/vocals.

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They played a number of oldies and hits off their new record, Suck My Shirt. Raucous numbers like “Follow Me” and “Shut Up” got fist-pumping and head-banging going on in the crowd. Sweeter tunes like “Drive” brought a certain soothing energy over everyone. What’s most impressive about The Coathangers is the versatility of each member of the band. Multiple times during their set, the ladies switched places and played each other’s instruments. Each one also sang and had a very distinctive vocal style, bringing a lot of variety to the music. I wish my fellow Sacramentans would have danced their butts off like these ladies deserved, but we’ll just have to do a better job next time they come around.

People started moving closer to the front of the room as anticipation and a strange cedar incense filled the air. I made the dangerous choice of standing smack dab, front and center for the show, not knowing what I was getting myself into. Die-hard fans to either side of me informed me of the number of times they had seen the Black Lips live and how far they had travelled. A guy behind me asked, “If I dive off the stage, will you catch me?” I laughed. Little did I know what lay ahead… The members of the Black Lips took the stage and all hell broke loose.

I have never seen an audience go as wild as they did for these Atlanta, GA punk-garage-psych rockers. Once the stage diving started a few songs in, there was no end to it. I saw shoes, bottles, and other unmentionable objects thrown on stage as displays of affection, I’m sure. Fans ran on stage to sing with the band only to literally get thrown off by some of the scariest bouncers I have ever seen. That is true devotion right there. I’ve been to punk shows before, but I’ve never been to one like this. And in Sacramento? Who knew.

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As for the music itself, the Black Lips could not have been more entertaining. They played a number of songs from their old albums (not enough though according to the enraged fan to my right) and quite a few off their new record, Underneath the Rainbow. Oldies like “Modern Art” and “Family Tree” had fans rowdily singing along, while new material like “Justice After All” was well received. My personal favorite, “Boys in the Wood”, a new one, really captured the overall feel of the band and possibly what direction their music is heading to in the future.

Craziness in the crowd and all, Black Lips and The Coathangers put on a show I will probably remember for the rest of my life. Both bands really know how to make music and put on a show that brings their audience to a level beyond alive. I know Sacramento will be looking forward to their return. Make sure to catch them while they’re still on tour in the U.S. through the beginning of May.

You can listen to my show, The Beat Hour, live on Tuesdays from 6-7pm on KSSU.com. I play today’s best alternative & indie music, interviews with bands, and have the occasional giveaway. Tune in!

DJ Constance – Sasha Tokas

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