This is a piece I have written about the Black Lips show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday, October 1st. The only problem is, I don't much remember it.
I don't mean that in the "I-got-black-out-drunk" type of way, or as a blasé hyperbole, implying that the show was lackluster or unmemorable. Rather, I mean that I cannot recall the intricacies of the setlist, or the characters in the audience, because the concert produced that elusive type of moment that transports you out of your consciousness; that nullifies your incessant internal neurosis and replaces them with a calm, cool, crystalizing nothingness. A moment that engrosses you so completely that once it's over, you can hardly recall that it happened at all.
Ever have one of those nights when you go to a show and everything just serendipitously falls into place? You arrive to find that there is no line. You run into your friend in the front row. You don't pay for a single whiskey sour, but there is magically always a new one in your hand. A random girl from the masses tries to beat the shit out of you for no apparent reason, and you find it not threatening, but only hilarious. "Don't let the city gentrify your soul..." warned The King Khan & BBQ Show as they brought their opening set to a close. "Totally
." I thought, "Oh wait, does that make sense
?" Who cares—King Khan and BBQ Show oozed a confidence you just can't teach, and I was eating it up. As the two, irresistible, chubby dudes, clad in metallic super-hero garb, sang their fucking guts out I snapped a series of atmospheric close-ups of Blacksnake (pseudonym: King Kahn), and ruminated on the happy fact that I was fully digging the vibe.
The Black Lips began, and it became immediately clear that entering the mosh pit was imminent and inevitable. I like to think of myself as relatively kind and non-confrontational, but the thing is that I really love to mosh. It's a love that I didn't truly discover until my senior year of college, and I'm still pretty enchanted. Previously, I always thought that moshing was about physically manifesting your catharsis: about creating a space within which to release your angers and frustrations, often violently. But it's not really about that. Moshing is about collectivity, a loss of "self", a communal experience wherein you may push each other down, but you also always
lift each other up. When you're in a good mosh pit, your very movement is no longer within your control. You surrender to the ebb and flow of your peers, to the motion and emotion of the group. That is precisely what the Black Lips fostered from the very first chord that rang out in Williamsburg that night, and within that pit is where I remained for the duration of the crowd-pleasing, cheer-inducing, blissfully forgettable performance.
Having awoken the next morning, ears still ringing, I picked up my camera to review the pictures that I had taken to cover the show and write this feature. I turned it on to find that the majority of the photos I had carefully shot before succumbing to the urge to dance, and becoming engulfed by the crowd, were gone. Deleted. Might as well not have ever existed. How fitting that the photographs I had so deliberately taken with the intention of serving as tangible memory had inexplicably vanished. What remained were those first few ones of King Khan, and a handful of blurry, nondescript, and unfocused shots of the Black Lips that I had snapped during the raucous encore (when The King Khan & BBQ Show joined them onstage, and I retreated to the balcony to survey the pit from a distance and attempt documentation). Like my own hazy recollections, these few photos were proof that the the concert had happened, but they simply didn't convey the experience that had transpired. Ce la 'vie. Guess you just had to be there.