The Black Lips, Cedar Street Courtyard

With Foxygen channeling old school Rolling Stones’ tunes, it only seems natural that Cedar Street Courtyard would to revisit a Hells Angels Altamont Free Concert-scenario and garner the reputation as the worst place to schedule a Black Lips concert. I started out the concert near the front, behind a couple in their sixties, the man donning a fedora and a tweed jacket. I shook my head, debated whether to tell him to leave and dreaded the moment when he would realize his grave mistake. He left promptly once the concert started, as beer throwing, moshing and general debauchery ensued. Just as things were getting started security were walking around in the crowd, removing the beer throwers, telling people “no pushing” and video taping the crowd (not sure why that was necessary).

This was an overreaction in the face of a fairly tame Black Lips crowd, featuring a heavy percentage of older men, far past their prime, prone to yelling to their other polo clad buddies “It’s not a concert if you don’t go up.” “Go up” referring to crowd surfing, a behavior that was strangely tolerated by the crazy eyed security that littered the venue; even if said men were far too heavy to be supported by the crowd.

Eventually, after the crowd and band silently accepted the overbearing security, “Bad Kids” pushed things over the edge. It’s a given that people are going to get on stage during “Bad Kids”(I half expect a stipulation in the band’s rider to read “Tolerate drunken idiots running around on stage during final song”). As soon as the first fan clambered up on stage, his ensuing stage dive was cut short by a security who tackled him from behind, bodies colliding mid-air and crashing down upon the crowd below. I was pretty pissed at this point, and while I’m not sure this was everyone’s intention, I followed the crowd in pushing towards the fallen security guard in a dog pile type of smothering. His comrades were quick to respond though as the entire crew spilled out into the crowd to his aid.

At that point, Jared Swiley signaled to his band mates to cut the song and admonished security, saying “you can’t tackle someone for having fun” to which both band members and the crowd joined in with their obligatory “they are just being bad kids” comments.

After everything settled down, the band decided to jump back into the song where they left off, only lasting about 30 seconds before another fan attempted a stage dive and had a punch swung in his direction by a security guard, spurring a riot-like environment that felt like the moment when the tear gas would be deployed in movies. More security spilled out into the crowd, one guard yelling at a fan “Say that to me over here! You want to fight?”

Cole Alexander capped the night off with a spread cheek, mooning of the crowd and a heated confrontation with one of the security guards, before the lights at the venue were cut. The Black Lips posted an enraged Facebook status the day after the incident, a post that seems to have been removed from their feed since.

by Will Guerin

(Black Lips photo via