The Black Belles: They're a band! We know this for a fact. We've seen them, on Sunday at The Basement for Ben Swank's latest Hate Life installment, live and in the flesh — they are not just an extended gag courtesy of The Colbert Report. And the Third Man Rolling Puppet Show was nowhere to be seen. These girls can move and talk just like a real band! We're not sure what we were expecting — The Belles have a scant catalog and only one show under their belt — but the Haterade-drinking corners of the Internet made it sound like we were going to get a bunch of gothed-out animatronic robots lip-syncing to Jack White's pitch-shifted voice, though we have the feeling those folks are still butt-hurt about the ICP "Lick My Ass" incident from a couple weeks ago. Which, y'know, LOL at those fools.
And The Belles are pretty damn good, too! The four-piece goth-garagers played a fun set of dark, organ-fueled rock the made us imagine what The Slits would have sounded like if they had copped their style from The Lyres. (And we're talking about the legendary Boston garage punks, not those Brooklyn hipster douches with the less clever name, for the kids keeping score at home.) When the band hit the poppier, more upbeat numbers, they even reminded us of The Rezillos. But the middle of the set was a little heavy on the slow numbers and started to drag. Which is fine! You can't expect a band with one other show under their belt to have all the kinks worked out set-wise, and the last two songs — which are going to be on their next single — were rockin' and rollin' enough to stymie our case of the yawns.
Overall, a pretty fun, low-key Sunday night with a band that has a lot of potential. Not worldwide-superstars-rolling-around-in-mountains-of-filthy-lucre potential, but at least the potential to get us to listen to their album when it comes out, and definitely the potential to get our ass out to their shows again. (They would lose this potential if, say, the next single ended up being wispy folk-tronica, but that's not really something we see happening.) Their maudlin garage rock might not be for everybody, but it definitely works for us, and we're looking forward to seeing these ladies on stage more often. Though the folks at Third Man should totally think about getting an animatronic robot band. They could be called Hall of Presidents and sing about history! We think the Haterade-drinking corners of the Internet would love it.