Friday, March 15, 2013

Flaming Lips Live @ SXSW - Are You a Hypnotist?

This is awesome, but what's even freakin' cooler is Brooklyn Vegan's pictures of the Lips last night as they performed Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots live in it's entirety for apparently the first time ever.

I'm VERY hot and cold with the Lips. I got into them later than my friends (mainly Mr. Brown) - I always liked what I heard but not enough to actually become a fan. Brown saw them live way back when Tool was opening for THEM (crazy, right?) in like '93 or '94. He'd describe their awesome live show and it sounded great but somehow it never spurred me to accompany him (in my defense it wasn't always that I could get off work for shows back then - like now - so I had to pick and choose). Anyway, the first time I did see them was the Flaming Lips Boombox experiment at the Metro in Chicago, not sure what year but late 90's probably. It was awesome, but it wasn't them performing per se. They brought 50 folks out of the crowd, had 25 sit on one side of the stage and 25 on the other, then passed out 50 boomboxes and 50 bags of color-coded tapes. Wayne then 'conducted' the participants to insert and play various tapes at various times. It was pretty rad. I was closer to being a fan, but didn't take the first plunge until The Soft Bulletin blew my fucking head off - how was this the same band? That predates Radiohead's likewise similar change between OK Computer and Kid A (Kid A is my favorite Radiohead record and I wasn't really a fan until it's release) and was really the first time I'd seen a modern band pull such an massive evolutionary step. The only problem with the Soft Bulletin was it made me so sad I really had to be careful around it.

Flash forward to 2002 and on one of our first dates my then-girlfriend, now-wife brought me to see the Lips on their Yoshimi tour at Chicago's Riviera Theatre and it was the whole fabled spectacle - bubbles, stuffed animal suits, confetti, etc. When describing that show I've always said it was a celebration of being alive. It made me cry. Only other show to do that was Bjork at Chicago's Civic Opera house.

But I digress - What's my point? I dig this video, and the concept for this upcoming concept record The Terror. But I liked a lot of what I heard about Embryonic before it's release, even really liked the first single, but the record ended up falling flat for me. In fact, I haven't liked a lot of what the Lips have done since Yoshimi. Was this due to after waiting years for Christmas on Mars and then having Mr. Brown send it to me only to find that I loved it both visually and sonically but absolutely HATED the dialogue in it (I talk more in depth about my disappointment with that here)? I don't know. Then the band did Dark Side of the Moon and it sounded cool but fell flat for me when I heard it (though it may not have if I'd heard it live). Now the band is doing commercials and I'm weary of that. But this upcoming album again, like all Lips album's since I drank about half the glass of kool aid, has me really curious. Maybe it will be the album that finally does for their later career what Hit to Death in the Future Head and Telepathic Surgery did to their older stuff for me.


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