Hot Lips

It takes balls (not to mention boundless energy) to play a dozen shows in three days at SxSW, but that’s exactly what the Black Lips did two years ago at the annual music showcase. Whether it was the ultimate display of DIY guts and determination or just a carefully crafted publicity stunt, it was enough to earn them the title of “Hardest Working Band in Austin” by no less than the New York Times. The Black Lips raised eyebrows again at this year’s incarnation of the festival when they were joined onstage by Wu-Tang Clansman GZA for a set that has alternately been described as “the greatest rap/rock collab since Anthrax & Public Enemy” and “a trainwreck.” The Atlanta garage rock quartet has obviously made an impression on fans, bloggers and journalists alike. While their onstage debauchery might have overshadowed their music in the past, their newest album, 200 Million Thousand, displays a more mature sound as the Black Lips careen from twangy country to psychedelic blues and even take a stab at hip-hop. Even if the experimentation doesn’t always work, it’s hard to fault a band for sounding like nobody else in today’s oversaturated music scene.
Fri., April 17, 8 p.m., 2009
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Michael Lopez