SXSW: The Black Lips’ set ends in madness; Cole Alexander nearly assaulted

Cole Alexander, left, and Jared Swilley of The Black Lips perform at Cedar Street Courtyard at SXSW.

Things got out of hand at Cedar Street Courtyard last night.

Mics got knocked out, people got thrown from the building and The Black Lips’ Cole Alexander almost got beaten down by a security guard that was, in theory, there to protect the band and its equipment.

The Black Lips closed out the night’s showcase at Cedar Street and you’d think it was the garage rockers’ penchant for debauchery that caused the madness, but it wasn’t the band. Rather, a pair of over zealous security guards got a little out of hand.

It started normal – crazy mosh pit, but normal for The Black Lips – until the band decided to finish with “Bad Kids.”

Cue the insanity.

Things went completely off the rails almost immediately into the band’s slamming, fun time song. While the punkers in the crowd slammed into each other, one security guard jumped into the fray and tackled a fan.

Taken aback, the band just stopped.

“What the f***?!” remarked Alexander, the band’s guitarist and vocalist. “You can’t do that.”

“They’re just being bad kids,” quipped guitarist Ian Saint Pe.

Quickly, the band remembered their place and launched back into the song, but the fans overwhelmed the stage. Someone knocked out a microphone cable or three and we lost the band’s vocals. The band soldiered on, but security jumped into the audience again.

Finally, the song ended and everyone cheered. After surviving the set, we had a rock ‘n’ roll moment on our hands.

Then we all notice that one of the security- 6’4″ and all muscle – was having words with the diminutive Alexander. Good for Alexander, he didn’t back down, but it escalated into a shoving match. Eventually, Alexander ran through the crowd and out the back door before he could get kicked out.

Now, I don’t envy security guards at these things. A lot of them aren’t used to what bands like The Black Lips bring along with them, but that’s no excuse for tackling some kid having a good time at a rock show.

Earlier in the set, things started out as you’d expect. The Black Lips kicked into songs such as “Family Tree” and “Dirty Hands.” Gradually, it grew into your average garage-punk mosh pit: dance around in a mess of elbows and head banging.

Then second one guy started splashing his beer, he got tossed out.

Another guy threw some water. (Most of it was poured on my head. Annoying, but whatever.) He got hit in the chest with a flashlight – hard – and carried out by two security guards.

Other than the madness and some sound issues that weren’t the band’s fault, it was a good set.

The Atlanta band even debuted a new song – the slow, Southern rock tune “Wild Boys in the Woods.” People slowed down and mellowed out. One couple even slow-danced.

What a night.

I’ve never seen anyone overreact like that. I mean, I got kicked in the head by a crowd surfer at this show. Was I pissed? Sure. But did I tackle the dude? Nope. It’s a rock show. Things get crazy. You just have to learn that no one’s trying to hurt one another, even while they’re slamming into one another to the sweet sound of distorted guitars.

* * *

Update: The Black Lips made a post about the incident today (and also linked to this blog).

F*** THE SECURITY STAFF AT Cedar Street Courtyard!!!!!
Way to assault multiple people, most of which where young kids and women.
If anyone was assaulted of injured please come coward (sic) and press charges on these idiot and unprofessional thugs.
…or shatter their Yelp and Twitter!!
Way to go SXSW!!!

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7 Responses to SXSW: The Black Lips’ set ends in madness; Cole Alexander nearly assaulted

  1. Gary Cooper says:

    Have you ever been to a Black Lips show before? This is seriously one of the worst “articles” I’ve ever read. Sensationalism at it’s worst.

    Have you missed them peeing on the crowd or marching through the streets of Atlanta with the entire crowd?

    Complete bullshit.

    • Kevin Coffey Kevin Coffey says:

      Hey Gary – Yes, I’m aware of their antics, but this was completely tame. Kids moshing, sure, but absolutely nothing out of hand and certainly nothing of that sort from the band. Until security “stepped in” and caused a problem.

    • Frank says:

      Go to a Joan Baez concert if you can not handle the heat.

      Are you expecting everyone to hold hands while patiently sitting on the ground at what is, in essence, a punk show? Security guards are paid to protect a band that is preforming, and to keep fans from getting seriously injured. They are not paid to initiate trouble and inflict violence upon fans as well the band.

      Judging by your comment it seems that you are implying that the Black Lips and their fans deserved this animal-like behavior because of the way the band USED to put on shows-in which everything was done in good fun with no intention to physically harm a single person and to merely entertain their fans. Which I reply to you with by saying….

      Complete Bullshit.

    • maus says:

      “Sensationalism at it’s worst.

      Have you missed them peeing on the crowd or marching through the streets of Atlanta with the entire crowd?”

      You should probably take your own advice.

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  3. maus says:

    “I got kicked in the head by a crowd surfer at this show”

    That’s all crowd surfers do, flail around their steeltoes and thwack people in the face. I really wish people wouldn’t enable that dumb gimmick.

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