There was a hint of a festival floating about the air in downtown Austin, Thursday night. Something on a large scale was brewing—and the people of this Live Music Capital of the World wreaked of it. That all too uncomfortable, yet familiar, stench of a sweaty guy at a festival dancing next to you. That instinct to flare your nostrils when catching a whiff of a hipster lacking deodorant. This was what Antone’s played as their hand of cards on Oct. 11.
Aside from antiperspirant, manners and common courtesy had also gone out the window long before the Black Lips took the stage for their official ACL Fest Late Night Show. I came to this conclusion when a lot of members in the audience just weren’t willing to budge when I tried navigating the bar.
Austin locals Not In the Face! were the initial match for the flaming slew of modern rock ‘n’ roll. Their slum-dog style of riff, fuzz and swing was a little out of the mold for a garage-derived punk headliner. But the initial ingredient seemed to sit well with the audience’s stomachs as they prepped for the night’s crescendo.
A Giant Dog, screaming beats artists and self-proclaimed garage-rockers out of Austin, welcomed only a thicker layer of musk from the busier areas of Antone’s—caused by those not hygiene-oriented to move their bodies until they broke a sweat—only to let the pheromones boil. The angsty, ginger front woman, Sabrina C. Ellis, seemed to be the one controlling the momentum above the stink. If you could actually take your eyes off of her then you would also notice that every member is doing their own misfitted, awkward act. They moved like punk rock, as if they would still feel at home in a garage.
By this point in the night, there was a little white sign above the venue’s door that read, “SOLD OUT.” But what it really meant was, “You can’t fucking come in.” The night’s headliners, Black Lips, took the stage around 11:30 p.m. Their adoring fans welcomed the band by sloshing beer around the center floor and hurling a few, (hopefully), empty beer cans towards the stage. It was sincere, of course.
If you’re familiar with Black Lips and their notoriety to sometimes raise the bar when it comes to risque, then you would understand the jester better. In past performances they have been known to do anything from vomit and urinate, to lighting fireworks and guitars, to hosting a chicken on stage. So naturally, the crowd might have crossed their fingers and toes that this might jeer a similar reaction from the group. But instead, the band replied with their short make of songs like, “Bad Kids,” “Dumpster Diving” and “Raw Meat.”
According to the bar that Black Lips has set for themselves in the past, Thursday night’s show was mildly conservative. Besides the avid crowd surfers, mosh pit and chicks dancing on stage with the guys—there was nothing too extravagant to point out. Which really catches me off guard considering it was guitarist Ian St. Pe’s birthday.
Before their “official” set ended a little early, the lead vocalist said, “Between y’all and us up here. It’s worth more than 1,000 nights. So tonight, think about who you are, what you are, and maybe you’ll be somebody. Good luck to you all equally.”
That alone wasn’t going to get the band out of an encore, though. It was obvious these inebriated hipsters weren’t ready to leave. Which prompted them to cheer until Black Lips was verbally coerced back on stage. This still barely stretched the set until its actual scheduled end time.
All of the night’s shenanigans were enough to please this crowd, though. And with the crunch of glass beneath the “flower punk” enthusiasts feet, they made their way to the exit sign like decent civilians. The chaos had seemed to temporarily subside for this particular evening.