“Someone that young really shouldn’t be able to grow a moustache that wild!” The curious facial hair that is perplexing certain members of the crowd tonight belongs to Black Lips bassist Jared Swilley. A full-on Eugene Hutz-style lip jacket it looks like Jared has glued a scrubbing brush below his nose. It looks incredible and seems to precede his every tumbling movement about the stage, as if the moustache is in charge, pulling Jared along behind it.
The mighty moustache and backing band are in Cardiff for the Black Lips first gig since a typically riotous Coachella performance that saw Har Mar Superstar bouncing around the stage, in amongst the spit and sweat. Unfortunately it looks as if the usual compelling antics of nudity and man-on-man snogging have been left back in the Colarado dessert. Tonight’s set is far tamer by comparison. “Can you make it more psychedelic?” guitarist Cole Alexander asks the sound engineer at one point, as if pre-empting a more chilled Lips gig.
Still, a calm night with the Black Lips is more seductively filthy than many bands. Jared does his usual spit-in-the-air-and-catch-it party trick during songs while Cole launches himself at the floor, still playing while attempting a backwards roll. All this while exuding a raucous cackle of frenzied late 60s garage and playful doo-wop that sounds like they’ve carved up Weezer with a Stooges record.
“This one’s called ‘Dirty Hands‘. It’s about the power of using soap,” says Cole, introducing one of the high points from 2005’s ‘Let It Bloom’ album. The swaying Beatles melody and Velvet Underground beat is enchanting, the “Do you really want to hold my dirty hands” chorus still echoing round the hall when Jared’s monster moustache marches the Black Lips offstage.