Flaming Lips, NIA Birmingham UK, November 9th 2006
The Flaming Lips are notorious for their shows, with a reputation for a psychadelic circus of performance. They didn't dissapoint with this new tour, promoting their latest album "At War With the Mystics", a funky yet assertive new interpretation of the epic rip roaring melodies we have come to know and love over the last twenty odd years. Opening the show in a suitably weird fashion were support band Deerhoof, a trio of bass, drums and lead guitar, playing a perplexing mix of de-constructed heavy metal ambiance, (including toddler like dance moves from the squeaky lead singer).
Although "The Lips" could be seen before the opening number, setting up equipment and so on it didn't prevent the entrance to the stage being theatrical yet down right trippy. With one side of the stage engulfed by dancers in Father Christmas suits armed with torches, Wayne Coyne rolled on to the stage and then the crowd in a giant inflatable aero ball, accompanied by sexy alien women, naturally. They started as they meant to go on, with twice as many giant balloons than usual. Due to the bands respect for Chandeliers at the previous nights venue, they had some left over. This little anecdote was taken from one of the many rambling monologues from the lovable hippy front man that interjected throughout the night. Covering topics ranging from the joyous discintigration of the Bush establishment to optimistic advise for troubled teens. However the sensory overload was more than enough compensation for sometimes tedious and cheesey speeches. Laser shows, puppetry sing alongs, giant glitter balls creating illusions of spinning stars and continuous streams of glittery party string being blasted at the audience left me feeling absolutley spoilt. The audience interaction was astounding, resulting in a mass Queen Kareoke during the encore, a booming cover of Bohemian Rhapsody including sing along words on the massive video screen backdropping the stage. This screen was used to display many of the bands videos, so even short arses like me had something to look at if the lips disappeared behind the crowd. Another example of how thoughtful and caring the band are towards their faithful fans.
Ultimately it has hard to say a bad word about the show as you get so much bang for your buck literally. My only complaint is that it was so jaw droppingly uplifting and crazy that my face still aches from smiling all night.
Review by Chrissy Mckenzie