For these shows the group has hooked up with local promoters on the ground level, whom they met though with the assistance of producer Bill Cody (Athens GA: Inside/Out, We Fun), and are sharing most of the dates with the Beirut-based foursome Lazzy Lung. Although the tour does make a swing though Iraq, Black Lips are sticking to the northern Kurdish region of the country, which is far less volatile than, say, Baghdad.
Shows are booked in both Sulaymaniyah and Hawler (the fourth largest city in the country), neither of which has been active an war zone since the U.S. invaded Iraq. Still, it's a dangerous journey, and it's one on which few, if any, Western punk bands have embarked with absolutely no USO involvement. "I've searched and I've found no records of tours like this," says Black Lips bassist and vocalist Jared Swilley. "I can say with confidence that we're the first band to do it like this."
Guitarist/vocalist Cole Alexander adds, "I am a little nervous about it, but I think we're doing something positive - playing shows there could, in some ways, help improve diplomacy between cultures. We've never thought of ourselves as a political band," he adds. "We're more like ambassadors for people who like music, and we're not going to disrespect anyone or get out of line at all - not after what happened in India."
Sept. 14 - Amman, Jordan - venue TBA (with Lazzy Lung)
Sept. 19 - Larnaca, Cyprus - Savino Live (with Lazzy Lung)
Sept. 21 - Cairo, Egypt - Culturewheel (with Lazzy Lung)
Sept. 23 - Tunis, Tunisia - Le Squat (with Lazzy Lung)
Sept. 26 - Dubai, UAE - Music Room (with Lazzy Lung)
Sept. 28 - Hawler, Iraq - venue TBA
Sept. 29 - Sulaymaniyah, Iraq - venue TBA
Oct. 6 - Beirut, Lebanon - Metro Al Madina (with Lazzy Lung)
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