photos by Chad Syme
review and interview by Jamie H
I’ll admit it: I think it’s great when rock bands go nuts and climb all over their gear and risk their safety in the name of a visceral, physical show. Black Eyes and Neckties deliver me this satisfaction and tear up the stage with abandon and they even take the stage looking like a CSI: Seattle crime scene, speckled with blood and donning their namesake black eyes. However, for their Bumbershoot performance, singer Brad Lockhart may or may not be also donning a cast on his leg as the result of a recent leap from the top of a PA stack during a performance at TOTALFEST in Missoula, MT, a few weeks ago. Apparently he broke one of his feet and sprained both of his ankles. Ouch. What a way to start their most recent tour.
The theatrics of the Bellingham act go hand-in-hand with the dark glam garage rock with which they assault the audience (and I mean “assault” in the most awesome sense of the word). Their second full-length album, Apparition! has helped them retain their three year title as “Best Rock Band” by Bellingham’s What’s Up! magazine and establish themselves as the Northwest’s go-to band for a horror rock explosion on the stage.
At the KEXP Music Lounge, Black Eyes and Neckties rocked a brutal early evening set. You know a band isn’t messing around when the wheelchair-bound Lockhart still manages to yell, sweat, and flail around on the floor. I had a chance to chat with Josh Homicide after their set.
Jamie: You guys just played TOTALFEST in Missoula, MT – tell me about what happened there with the leg breaking.
Josh: TOLTALFEST was pretty chaotic, as you can imagine. There was, I mean, you got what we did today but with a crowd that was energetic also, so it just built off that. By the end of the set we were just kind of all over the place on our own stuff. Brad climbed up on this ledge that had art on top of it, climbed around on it. He had to jump off of a couch to grab it and pull himself up. He was standing on top of this thing and it broke and he fell off and landed, like, fifteen feet flat on his feet basically, and broke his ankle.
Jamie: At the Badlander
Josh: Yeah, at the Bandlander. We were one of the last bands, so we went from there strait to the ER and spent the night in the ER. As far as everything else on tour, it was our best tour yet. Carly from Starbird Promotions booked it for us. It’s definitely picking up, everything is doing awesome. We did Block Party, TOTALFEST, Bumbershoot, you know, everything’s great for us right now. Kind of an upswing, thanks to KEXP, too.
Jamie: When you’re on tour, do you tend to play smaller basement shows or any bigger shows?
Josh: We’ve been stuck in big, almost arena-sized things like by ourselves where nobody knows who we are. We played for, like, ten people in a gigantic arena, or we’ve played in crowded basements where, you know, we can’t even move let alone anyone else. So, it’s really, all the way across the board at this point. I like the basements because it brings it back to where music all started. We all started in basements and are trying doing what we love doing for people who want to be there and just, you really feel the energy down there. Everything’s really super close and tight knit. Yeah, totally love it. That would probably be my favorite — basement stuff, but I mean, then again, you get sweet rock bars along the way. It’s just the same thing, the same feel.
Jamie: Do you feel like, in mid-west small towns playing a rock bar, a little weird finishing a set and realizing you’re wearing eye make up around a bunch of rednecks?
Josh: We do our best to as least offensive as possible. So, we don’t deliberately piss anybody off. It does happen, though, occasionally. We’ve never had any, like, fights or anything like that, so, thankfully, but there are people who have obviously looked as us weird for sure. We can’t really avoid that, I guess.
Jamie: Are you guys going on the road again soon?
Josh: We don’t have any specific plans right now. We just finished recording. We’re doing a seven-inch, so we’re going to put that out. It’s some new stuff, so we’re excited about that. We put our new album out last year.
Jamie: Who’s putting out the seven-inch?
Josh: Krazy Keith Records, actually. It’s just a local DIY label out of Bellingham. It’s going to be a split with our friend’s band, Russians. The bass player who was playing with us tonight, he’s in that band.