A wacky night with The Black Lips and Vivian Girls

I missed local Kansas City openers The Conquerors Tuesday night April 26 at a sparsely filled Beaumont Club. I came in as the final note of their set blared from the Beaumont Club’s amps. Though it seems I wasn’t alone walking into the venue I was one of about maybe 75 patrons on the high side in the venue. The Beaumont is a venue I love to hate in Kansas City. I just want to get that out of the way now. On a night like last night it is exacerbated though for reasons I typically don’t lament about the place. When no one shows up for a show at Beaumont the place feels like a giant cavern. Though I suppose in favor of the bands on last night’s three band bill headlined by Atlanta’s The Black Lips at least they tend to sound better than when the venue is more crowded, though maybe that is just me.

All that out of the way the Brooklyn based Vivian Girls were up next on what would end up being a solid night of music that I suspect flew under the radar of most KC music fans. I read about the Vivian Girls quite often it seems in the music press. Especially as of late with the release of their latest album Share the Joy which released on April 12. This was also the second time I had caught the Vivian Girls live after last year’s SXSW. Thus I’m not sure if it was lack of promotion or KC being behind the curve or the fact that it was the Vivian Girls first show in KC according to bassist and singer “Kickball Katy” for the low turn out. The crowd had grown to what I estimated to be about 100 by the time the female trio took the stage. Their at times punk pop sound that gives way to washes of dream pop was at times soothing and relaxing lending the crowd to chill out and take in the music. The band is on tour in support of their latest release Share the Joy which is the group’s third studio album. I enjoyed the band back at SXSW last year and I enjoyed them just as much if not more so at the Beaumont. While the band has been through as many drummers as it has albums they sounded a little tighter and cohesive than I recall from their afternoon show I caught last year. I was a little dismayed when their set was cut seemingly a song short by the front of house sound mixer. With a set lasting about 40 minutes I was left wanting a little more. Thankfully the band comes back near town playing Lawrence on May 13 at the much more appropriate sized Jackpot Music Hall so I look forward to catching them again in just a few short weeks.

The headliner for the night The Black Lips have a reputation I’ve read plenty about over the years. It would be easy to write them off as a shock/antics band if they didn’t actually have musical talent. While the antics were kept pretty low key compared to some of the wackier antics I’ve read about they were still present at this performance. On this particular night they managed to piss off just about every member of the Beaumont’s sound and light staff. At one point they called out the front of house mixer, that guy was a pain in the ass all night long. After a false start the band would go on to play for a solid hour. During their set they played the one song I really know them for thanks to the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World soundtrack about Hurricane Katrina with “O Katrina!”  The hour set seemed to pass pretty quickly in front of a crowd that had swelled to about 200. The crowd was pretty well behaved as The Lips’ sound isn’t always conducive to crowd surfing or moshing though they got a little unruly toward the end of the set. As the band kept taunting and teasing that they only had several more hours to play and thousands of songs to go it all seemed to end rather quickly. After teasing the audience for about 10 minutes the house lights came up indicating that there would be no encore as the crowd had hoped for and ended an evening that was solid in music even if not well attended.

By John Coovert

Photos by Matthew Hensley

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