Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Flaming Lips In Concert

By Justin Cates

I made a quick trip to Buffalo in mid-July for a highly anticipated live set from professional weirdos The Flaming Lips.

I enjoy their music for the surprising number of beautiful melodies often interspersed amongst 8 minute tracks of ambient noise. And that sums them up, you have to be willing to take the strange with the easily accessible.

As a strange man myself, both bits are enjoyable as I can indulge my own eccentricities while still catering to the musical needs of my more mainstream companions.

The Lips have long been known for their over-the-top stage performances featuring among other things front man and likely alien Wayne Coyne crowd surfing in an enormous plastic bubble or cradling a baby doll as pictured above.

Then there are the fantastic lights, smoke and confetti reminiscent of a New York City ticker tape parade.

Things were slightly subdued at Artpark in Lewiston, NY as they have been this entire tour. The band's most recent release The Terror represents a darker chapter in their catalog and so it's no surprise that some of the craziness has been tamped down.

But even so, "subdued" in this case meant Wayne Coyne clad in a green spacesuit perched atop a myriad of chrome spheres as umbilical cords of light emanated energy in time with the music.

It was a wonderful experience with few stones left unturned in terms of the setlist. About half of The Terror was played as the crowd was continually urged by Wayne to be happy and keep partying. 

They also dipped liberally into the back catalog with classic tracks like "Race For The Prize", "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1", "Do You Realize?" and perhaps my personal favorite, "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton".

It was uplifting and mellow and colorful and unexpected. Everything one could ask for from a show was granted in joyful abundance.

As Wayne stated a while back in a Reddit AMA, "I think like all artists and musicians, we want to know that we disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed."

On this night, they certainly did. 

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