When was the last time that The Lillingtons played New York City? I’ve no idea, but I know it was before I moved here. In fact, The Lillingtons haven’t really played anywhere since calling it quits in 2001. There were a few dates here and there, a couple of festival appearances, but no real official ‘tour’ in the proper sense. And that doesn’t seem to have changed, although last night they played at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (to be followed by a show tonight in Boston and then an appearance at a music festival in Montreal on Sunday). If three dates constitutes a tour, I guess this qualifies.
At any rate, the point is that The Lillingtons have been pretty tough to see live for the last decade plus (vocalist Kody Templeman has been playing in Teenage Bottlerocket for a while now and they keep pretty busy) and last night presented a rare opportunity to do just that. Wyoming’s finest pop punks took the stage shortly after nine thirty in the evening following a set by openers Stabbed In The Back (who we missed but who feature Lillingtons drummer Timmy V. as a founding member) and then a set by Mikey Erg (best known for his work with The Ergs!, but he has also played with Star Fucking Hipsters and a few other bands) that really just consisted of him playing his electric guitar and singing – no backing band. It was kind of cool, actually.
But yeah, everyone was there for The Lillingtons and as such, the venue got pretty packed when they wandered out onto the stage to a mix of Morricone samples and audio clips from different B-movies and news recordings. The Illuminati logo hung on the banner in the background and the stage was flooded with nothing but red light. The band blasted through about three songs, then bombarded us with more weird samples while they tweaked their instruments, then another three or four songs. This repeated itself throughout the show, and it was actually kind of interesting in that it meant that there was no dead space during the set. If the band wasn’t playing, well hey, isn’t that Obama ranting about terrorism or something? It was different and it worked.
The set list consisted of what I guess you’d say was a greatest hits list, but given that they haven’t recoded any new material in years, how could it be anything but? They played most of the songs you’d expect them to play – early classic ‘Shit Out Of Luck’ era stuff like Ramble On, I Got Abducted By A UFO, Johnny and towards the end of the set a ridiculously enthusiastic version of Lillington High that had pretty much everyone in the crowd chanting L-I-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N-S along with the band. It was one of those moments where every damn person in the crowd had a big grin on their face all at once. Other highlights? I Saw The Ape Man, the always awesome X-Ray Specs, Murder On My Mind, It Came From The Future all off of Death By Television, Target Earth from The Too Late Show and Mindcontrol, El Pamino and One Armed Man off of The Backchannel Broadcast. So the set represented at least a few songs off of each one of their full length albums.
The set was less than an hour. When they walked off stage the crowd kept chanting L-I-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N-S for a good ten minutes but the venue, who had a second show booked for later that night, brought the house lights up. The set could easily have been half an hour longer and no one in the super happy enthusiastic crowd would have complained for a second, except for maybe the fuck-knuckle in the Descendents t-shirt who was grinding and slobbering all over his girlfriend to the point where people were kinda getting grossed out by them. But who cares about that. What matters is that The Lillingtons played New York City last night and they pretty much killed it. There was no banter, no real talking to the crowd at all to be honest, they just got up and played and for just short of an hour last night, it was pure Ramones style pop punk heaven.
The venue doesn’t allow photography, so these camera phone pictures will have to do (camera phones and red stage lighting often do not go well together so these pictures suck).