The Black Belles have an awesome viral marketing technique: passing you on the street carrying their equipment, dressed like The Black Belles. I wasn’t originally planning on seeing them perform, but I was virally marketed to, and didn’t want them to leave town without me knowing who the hell they were.
For starters, they have one of the best bio paragraphs ever:
The Black Belles are from Nashville TN. They met in a School For Wayward Girls in 2010 and have been practicing black magick and musik ever since. They are signed exclusively to Third Man Records, their debut LP “The Black Belles” was produced by Jack White III.
I wonder if Meg is their “big sister”?
Secondly, you may remember them as Stephen Colbert’s back-up band. I’m not 100% on whether or not they’re a legitimate foursome or if it’s some sort of Menudo situation where they cycle in a new Black Belle when an existing one gets too old or burns out.
Anyway, the show itself was confusing. I walked away from their 10 PM Saturday set on the Mohawk Patio wanting to hear more from them, but having not enjoyed what I’d heard … the singer (who I’d call Lydia Deetz, if they weren’t all Lydia Deetz) seemed distracted and confused as she huffed her way through “Leave You With A Letter,” apparently cutting the song off entirely near the end in favor of looking at her guitar like she was holding a pet shop full of snakes. It was weird, but not purposefully so.
She apologized to us for being tired, laughed a little, and continued on. They never seemed to be playing at full strength, which was disappointing. On the plus side, they looked fantastic (like four lady Undertakers, complete with floppy hats) and the drummer is fantastic. She moves around like Cousin Itt in the background and loses her hat before everyone else. If she could drum like that AND keep the hat on, she’d be a millionaire.
So yeah, I love what they’re doing and don’t fault them too much for being burned out by the end of the week. You’d think being part of the Black Belles would mean you didn’t have to lug your equipment up Red River or do your own sound checks for the sake of the gimmick. You’d also think a band built around appealing to jerks like me would have a merch table set up somewhere to milk me for every dollar I’ve got, but I guess we all were tired.