You know how it is with indie club gigs these days. You avoid the bar as if it held nine plagues (or in this case nine dollar Tecates). You take a quick glance at a merch table manned by someone sporting starter dreads to behold three sad tees hanging limply on a piece of plywood. That vape hit you took before going through the bouncer gauntlet wears off before the opening act even finishes its Joy Division knockoff. Then you stand with your arms folded for roughly 60 minutes amongst several hundred other individuals with their arms folded as a band plays the songs from that album you like in the same way they they were played on the album, stirring things up a notch by proclaiming things like, “Brooklyn, allright” or “Who was here to see us when we played (insert smaller club down the street here) four years ago?” Most likely you leave before the encore because, well, it’s a Tuesday and one must be awake and alert for that nine AM conference call, right?

In other words, the average mid-level indie band national tour date is nowhere near a revelatory experience. To put it more simply, the majority of them are an outright waste of $18 plus service fee. You’d have been much better off staying home and listening to the record while trying to make cauliflower muffins and chilling with your cats. Or anything else, really. Anything but dragging yourself to that gig, which you will most likely forget completely within a week’s time. Just like that, it will be erased from your memory because it didn’t even kick up enough of a fuss to bother even one pleasure receptor in your mind.

If you’re hunting for a gig experience that just might be able to come relatively close to that time you saw (insert 90s king-level band here) play at (insert legendary venue that is now the site of a a condominium building here) and (insert crazy incident that would would be controversial today but didn’t even crack the news then) happened this fall, then one scheduled tour does stand out:

Iceage is touring with Black Lips

Kicking off in early November, this is definitely an interesting pairing that may rise up to some form of credible entertainment. First of all, both bands are INCREDIBLY LOUD and the venues they are playing are RELATIVELY SMALL, so you’ll get to say things like, “Dude my ears are still ringing from that Iceage/Black Lips show last week” over brunch. Second, the sounds both bands produce are terrific but not necessarily of the same vibe. While Iceage take a goth punk approach that draws equally from heroin-era Nick Cave and orchestra-era Echo & The Bunnymen, the Lips boys keep it at the garage level with bits of psychedelia and psychobilly thrown in. Iceage are coming off one of the best albums of the year in the bracing, ambitious dark cathedral that was Beyondless, while Black Lips have a solid back catalog of beer-in-the-air bangers that a younger clone like FIDLAR can forever attempt to duplicate but never quite reach. It’s rare that a gig bill actually looks interesting these days, but this one is definitely a bit intriguing with the bands’ only vaguely similar sounds, their equal-in-size but differing-in-aesthetics cult followings (goths vs. party punks, ya’ll), and the potential for real noise and even a bit of the good old fashioned rowdiness that is fully frowned upon on the white indie scene of 2018.

Look, we aren’t saying this tour will blow your weary minds or anything. We aren’t saying people won’t stand in place nodding their heads with their arms folded. You may even hear a few “Alllriiighhhhtttt, Brooklyn”‘s. But it is a more innovative pairing than most tours and both bands function as outriders in a sea of harmless ’70s AM ripoffs, trying their best to create interesting sounds and kick up some ancient rock god dust in the process.

And for these reasons alone they both deserve your cash more than Whitney does.


Iceage/Black Lips Fall Tour

11/05 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre 
11/06 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox 
11/07 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom 
11/09 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall 
11/10 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House 
11/11 – Tustin, CA @ Marty’s on Newport 
11/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater 
11/13 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues 
11/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom 
11/16 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater 
11/17 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk 
11/18 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Downstairs 
11/19 – New Orleans, LA @ One-Eyed Jacks 
11/20 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn 
11/23 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl 
11/24 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl 
11/25 – New York, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 
11/27 – New York, NY @ Elsewhere 


Daniel Falatko