Aug 05

Lizzo [Local Spotlight]

“In 2014′s hip-hop culture, built on stale rhymes about sex, money and drugs, Houston-bred, Minneapolis-based artist, Lizzo relies on inventive wordplay and an ability to seamlessly flow between rapping and singing to set her above the rest. Her debut solo release LIZZOBANGERS lives and dies by Lizzo’s unique delivery and cadence, fueled by the depth of her pop-culture, social and historic references, ranging from Lizzie Borden to Cogsworth to Anna Wintour.” TGNP

 

 

It’s no secret that Lizzo along has taken the Minnesota music Hip-hop scene by storm. Her well-deserved success recently landed her a slot at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England coming up on Friday, August 22 through Sunday, August 24, 2014.

On tomorrow’s (8/6) My Playlister on the UK’s BBC Radio 1, Lizzo is going to be taking over and playing her ‘Happy’ Playlist. The show goes out 9-10pm and Lizzo has been let loose in a studio to present her very own show! She’s picked loads of great happy music, from the likes of Drake, Jagwar Ma and Spice Girls…

Be sure to tune in  at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1 and give Lizzo some Minnesota love!

 

Lizzo Wednesday

 

Article by Alex Stahlmann

 

Jul 30

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL @ Paisley Park 7/26/14

From Now Until Eternity

Early last week I came across Paisley Park After Dark’s digital promotion for a second Plectrum Electrum listening party at Paisley Park. Although the post didn’t say anything definitive about Prince making an appearance, special guests were to be in attendance (some guaranteed live music), a piece of merchandise was included in the $25 cover fee, and those who came would have the opportunity to listen to 3RDEYEGIRL’s new album before it even hit the internets. Having nothing better to do, I was sold on my second pilgrimage to Paisley Park Studios. Even if the mystical Purple Yoda didn’t make an appearance, I felt the chance thereof alongside with what I felt was already a justifiable party had me attempting to recruit some company. An additional teaser from 3RDEYEGIRL’s twitter stating, “SHHHHHH……..SOMEONE’S COMING!” only increased my excitement. Oh, and I suppose the fact that this past weekend marked the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain added some additional motivation.

By the time Saturday finally rolled around, I was ready and rarin’ to make my way out to Chanhassen. A handful of friends had expressed interest in joining, but I had yet to receive any firm commitments. If the night was to be anything like my last trip to Prince’s studio, it didn’t matter – I was prepared to fly solo. Eventually, my boy Pete stepped up to the plate. I had wingman! Not long after Eric made it a trio. Just an hour before go time my friends Stacy, Ted, and Al were on board as well. The six of us packed in Al’s Escape and hit the road ready for whatever magic was in store.

We arrived at Paisley Park right around 9:45. I was a little anxious as earlier that day it had been announced that Kandace Springs, a beautiful singer / songwriter / pianist from Nashville, would be performing at 9:30. The entry line extended maybe 100 feet out the door, but wasn’t nearly as long as it had been at my last visit… probably because we were late! While waiting Al, a first time visitor to Paisley Park, struck up conversation with the group standing behind us, “Oh man, are you guys excited!?” To which he received no response. Al, being the person he is, maintained his cheerful smile and asked again. This time our line neighbor responded, “This is a regular thing for us.” Ok… lines are often awkward, and random conversations with weird dudes exhibiting big goofy smiles aren’t always welcome, but Paisley Park a regular thing!? Psshhh… all the more reason to be excited! You sir had a better idea than most of what awesome potential was lying behind those open doors, now only 60 feet away.

Upon entry we made our way into the side performance room (to which I later would realize “NPG Music Club” is written on the carpeting), and were greeted by some excellent Jazz fusion. The room was fairly crowded, so I couldn’t really see what was going on in front, but listening wasn’t a problem. There was just enough space for my friends and I to work our way in and snag a piece of the dance floor. Providing us visual stimulation were picturesque nature scenes being projected on the walls in front and to the side of us. I was particularly excited by the band’s sporadic integration of what I recognized as the addition of a vocoder and an electronic wind instrument (Man. I love funk…). It took me a minute, but suddenly I realized that Prince might not be making an appearance. Perhaps the night truly was meant just to host some special guests and to lay down Plectrum Electrum. I tried to shake the feeling of defeat as I had been mentally preparing myself for exactly this throughout the entire week. A little more vocoder and some sexy bass slaps pulled me back into the moment, and just as I things in my crazy head were back to good, those illustrious 20 foot tall doors marked with Prince’s symbol started to open. The crowd spilled into the larger auditorium while the band finished out their set. I kicked my dance walk into gear and gave the first act, to which I am ashamed not to have caught the name, a hearty clap.

Seeing 3RDEYEGIRL’s stage setup adorned with Prince’s microphone had me grinning from ear to ear. It was all happening again! I hadn’t led my friends astray after all (although they had been sufficiently warned that this part would be an added treat)! Instead of bumping house music, we were almost immediately greeted by The Purple One and the 3RDEYEGIRLs who started their set rocking “Let’s Go Crazy.” I can’t stress the amount of showmanship and talent behind those on stage. I know it was only my second time experiencing Prince, Donna, Hannah, and Ida, but they effin’ ROCK! They, alongside Jack White’s performance at Bonnaroo, have single handedly restored my faith in Rock N Roll.

The night’s set included favorites such as, “Take Me With U,” “Raspberry Beret,” “U Got the Look,” and “Kiss,” but most notable were cameos from Marcus Anderson (sax) and Cassandra O’Neal (organ), as well as some stellar jams and solos from everyone that hit the stage. The set as a whole was very Jazz centric which was not too surprising as Prince and the gang just recently returned from headlining Essence Festival in New Orleans. In my previous Paisley Park write-up I admitted to only recently becoming a true Prince fan (I know, I know. Shake your fists), so when Prince made it quite apparent he wanted us all to sing along, all I could really contribute was a couple of choice lines and some dece dance moves. At one point Prince even had the lights turned on the crowd so that he could see everyone while they danced and sang along. I can tell you the night was an intimate performance, and that would mean something, but I swear, Prince looked into the eyes of every single person in that crowd. There was a connection. You simply don’t get that at stadium shows…

Kandace Springs was invited to the stage to perform, and my was she beautiful. Yea, she most definitely has the looks, but this girl can sing! As part of her introduction Prince asked us all to give her the respect she deserved as a guest. He gave a few reasons why, one of which was, “Y’all are respectful. I think you love music, and well, I think you love me.” Of course the crowd responded accordingly, but it really was a cherished and vulnerable moment; a moment that led perfectly into Kandace’s cover of “The First Time I Saw Your Face.”

After Kandace’s cameo the show continued its Rock N Jazz vibe, which included another amazing sax solo from Anderson. Prince eventually invited us all back into the other room, but not before having something to say, “You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on.” His performance of “Kiss” broke into some of the smoothest dance moves I’ve seen to date (eff guitar lessons, I want prince to teach me to dance)! None of us really wanted to let go, even if we’d been provided with some really good “walking music.” Nonetheless, the set finally ended and my friends and I found ourselves sitting on the floor in the small performance room waiting for Kandace.

As already mentioned, Kandace has a beautiful voice, but she also has skills on the keys to match. I’m not sure if her backing drummer and bassist were hers or simply guests, but man were they good! I bore witness to hands down the coolest drum solo I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some cool ones. There was some stellar bass work to boot. Although the whole set was superb, I especially enjoyed Kandace’s cover of Tupac’s “California Love,” of which she changed up some of the lyrics to be Minneapolis themed.

A couple songs in I noticed Prince had joined us as well. He mainly stayed out of sight stage right, but occasionally tampered with the sound board, picked up some sort of percussion shaker, and added some flair on the congas. A couple times he walked towards us in the front right corner of the room, and at one point actually cut into the crowd in order to check on something in the back. You know how everyone (at least in Minnesota) has their Prince story? Well I can now tell people that not only have I seen Prince live in an amazingly intimate setting, but I can also say my friend Pete and I stepped out of the way for the man. Not for his entourage, not for his body guards, but for Purple Yoda himself! Oh, and remember how I said we had come into the room and sat down on the floor while waiting for Kandace to start? Well, Eric never stood up. He was sitting right in front of me the whole time. As Prince brushed by he tilted over slightly and suggested Eric, “Wake up!” Now, I know Eric wasn’t actually sleeping, and was rather just being a silly wook taking in the show from the floor, but I don’t think I’ll ever let down the fact Prince yelled at him. Effing awesome!

Kandace finished out her set to a much deserved applause, and the party continued throughout Paisley Park. The DJ in the main room hit the decks, and I believe, but am not sure, that Prince provided a little assistance. My friends and I sort of mulled about between the two main rooms, got our dance on, and waited for the possibility of a second set. All the while the talent from the night, including the 3RDEYEGIRLs, mingled in the crowd. I wish I would have had the courage to tell Ida that she was a beast, Donna that it was a pleasure watching her shred, or Hannah that I’ve never seen such a wonderful smile sported while dominating the drums, but whatever… maybe next time. Next time you say? Yes. Next time. Why? Because Paisley Park from now until eternity my friends!

 

Article by Alex Stahlamnn

 

 

I Swear I Wasn’t Sleeping!

Paisley Park has got to be one of the best places on the planet to party with Prince. I’m beginning to fall in love with the place. Passing through the entry way always evokes a sense of peaceful excitement that never fades as long as you’re inside its walls. Saturday night’s party was another chapter in what I hope to be a never ending string of gatherings at the Purple One’s personal playground.

This was labeled a “listening party,” which in reality just meant an awesome album release party for the upcoming Plectrum Electrum release from 3RDEYEGIRL.  This evening, the crowd of around to 400 was treated to a real live jazz set in the secondary room upon arrival; no DJ set, no waiting around for music to start. Obviously it was some good stuff because nothing but great music gets played in that place. The musicians were set up on the floor, no stage, so it was somewhat difficult to see the band but that didn’t detract from the party they were starting up.

The opening band hadn’t even finished their last song as the beatufilly symbol emossed doors swung open ushering us into the main room. As spoiled as it sounds I have to admit I’m not even surprised when I see the microphone stand adorning Prince’s symbol set up at center stage anymore, I just get a smile knowing I’m in for one hell of a time.

Two projectors once again shone giant clear and crisp visuals onto the back wall – psychedelic enough to please even the likes of Jimi Hendrix. I can’t remember how long we were in the room, but it was not long before the ferocious foursome sauntered on the stage ready to once again blow our minds. Hannah, Ida, and Donna were dressed in clothes I’ve become accustomed to seeing them in while Prince himself donned another piece of hard to describe attire complete with a tight knit hat and rather large round sunglasses.

At this stage in the game, the song selection from the band pales in comparison to their delivery. They could play just about anything within those four walls and it would be great. Prince has all day to set up the visual experience and it shows. Prince himself was bathed in the perfect combination of swirling and splayed lights. Somehow there’s always the right amount of smoke/fog for the lights to work at full capacity, though it never seems that way when the house lights are on. Getting to witness this setup just a few mere dozen feet from the man himself is a spectacularly intimate experience that is hard to replicate anywhere else. We in Minneapolis are lucky to have this place right in our own backyard when it could have easily been built anywhere else in the country. If you never make it to see this legend on his home turf you only have yourself to blame.

As Mark Mallman stated to the Current, this really was like a concert in reverse. Right before breaking into his last song, Prince told us we were going to be moving back into the smaller room to enjoy some original music from his friend Kandace Springs, whom he had introduced earlier in the set to play a song with his band (“I told her you all love music and I think, that you love me too” he had said with a smile). “This is walking music! Why aren’t you walking?” he said as “Kiss” kicked in. Of course no one was going anywhere until they were sure he was done with both his songs and the awesome dance moves he was busting out throughout the night.

While waiting for Kandace to start her set some patrons, including myself, sat on the floor while others gathered around the groups instruments set up on the floor (no stage) where the music had been playing earlier. I happened to find myself just a few feet away from a support pole that had been completely covered in black velvet. Man does this guy know something about décor! Well, when the music started and everyone stood, I realized I still had a straight view of Kandace and her bassist through the shallow crowd in front of me. I figured there was no need to stand as I could appreciate the music just as well from floor, and also for the fact the drummer and bassist were both sitting on chairs on the floor as well.

What I can say about Kandace Springs is she is an extremely talented artist with an absolutely gorgeous voice. So gorgeous in fact, that I soon found myself cross legged with closed eyes and chin resting in the palm of my left hand, just entranced by the silky honey… hanging upon every word she sang. Suddenly I felt the crowd in front of me part and I opened my eyes just in time to see someone passing by, pointing down at me and saying “Wake up, there’s no sleeping in here.” It took a second to figure out what just happened before I tried reaching backwards pleading, “No! I wasn’t… I was enjoying… awwww nooo!” It was too late, Prince was already gone. I then looked down to notice I was wearing shorts with a large rip in them and my sandals were half hanging off my feet. I made the decision sometime earlier this was appropriate to wear to Paisley Park?!? Shame and disappointment immediately washed over me. Next time I’m definitely dressing up.

That right there goes to show how intimate these events can get; when Prince feels comfortable enough to just walk through a crowd of his own fans. Adding to the sense of intimate fun, he even played a DJ set at the back of the main room after Kandace’s set was over. How fun is Prince you ask? Well he kicked off his set with (sounded like a remix of) “Wobble Baby.” Yup, line dancing soon broke out. In fact everything he played was badass. In fact all the remixes played in Paisley Park are flippin’ awesome. During the middle of the dance party a very sexual remix came on. Now I just listened to “Face Down” for the first time before writing this review and I’ll tell you it is nothing like the original. Let’s just say he was most definitely not talking to a male in this particular version. Prince is a very sexual creature to say the least.

I’ve never been disappointed by my voyages to the Park. In fact, I’ve been pleasantly surprised every single time. Did I happen to mention they played “Turn Down for What?” What??? Yea, that actually happened. This time we were all treated to a complimentary poster, either a Prince Essence Festival or Prince holding his symbol guitar trying to perform some sort of magical spell. I think that’s a pretty good deal for only $25. This show once again invigorated my spirit for true funky music. I can only keep my eyes upon the 3RDEYEGIRL twitter feed in hopeful anticipation that they will be doing this again, very very soon.

 

Article by Eric Severson

 

Past Coverage:

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL @ Paisley Park 3/29/14

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL @ Paisley Park 10/19/13

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL @ Paisley Park 10/5/13

 

Jul 23

Slow Magic – “Hold Still” [Single]

SM_HowToRunAway_CoverArt

How To Run Away (album art)

Hold Still

Last October, Slow Magic came through Minneapolis in support of Gold Panda. According to guest writer Stephen Gosala, he “stole the show.”  Since then Slow Magic signed to Downtown Records, and he recently shared a new single entitled “Girls.” On September 9th, Slow Magic plans to release his new album, How To Run Away. The follow-up to 2012′s critically acclaimed “” album reflects uncharted growth and is oozing both with otherworldly beauty and a mastery of production.

Yesterday Slow Magic released “Hold Still,” the second single off his forthcoming album. The track utilizes dreamy organs and jazz piano culminating in an emotionally charged finale. “Hold Still” is a natural release for Slow Magic after the more dance centric “Girls.” I look forward to How To Run Away‘s release, and can only imagine the success of the album as a whole.

Slow Magic will be playing Minneapolis Sunday, October 5th @ 7th Street Entry (TICKETS)

 

 

“Slow Magic is music by your imaginary friend.”

Pre-order How To Run Away via iTunes

 

Article by Alex Stahlmann

Album art and “Hold Still” compliments of Slow Magic

 

Jul 22

Flaming Lips @ The Hub 7/16/14

Flips Dichotomy 

The Flaming Lips are one of my favorite bands because they combine so many of my favorite aspects of music, props, and performance art – specifically psychedelic rock, glitter, rainbows, giant inflatable animals, and gallons of confetti. When I slept through their show at Bonnaroo I could have kicked myself, but it turned out that it wouldn’t be my last chance to see the Flaming Lips this year. Their tour covered plenty more stops including Minneapolis and Fargo, ND.  Now, I don’t usually have a lot of reasons to travel to North Dakota, but having met several new friends from Fargo at a music festival recently, combined with The Flaming Lips stopping at The Hub in downtown Fargo, I knew I needed to make the journey! I was very excited to check out a new venue and to introduce my boyfriend to the wonder that is a Flaming Lips show!

me and wayneWhen we arrived at The Hub, the façade reminded me of an old roller skating rink. I immediately thought this to be delightful and figured the inside would have some great character as well. Before we went inside though we noticed two tour buses on the left side of the building. In front of the bus and behind a fence was none other than Wayne Coyne. The front man of TFL! What I noticed next was no surprise – he was doing something crazy/awesome/weird – having an assistant glue giant colorful pom poms to his crotch. So naturally I asked if I could take a photo. He obliged. I was star struck, so unfortunately our conversation didn’t last long! After a few photos we went inside.

Upon entering the building one thing became clear – it was an all ages show and alcohol was only served upstairs. I insisted to my boyfriend and friends that we must be on the floor for this show – how else would we get a good view of the inflatables, get doused with all the confetti, or have a chance to touch the giant hamster ball that Wayne crowd surfs with?! They agreed with me, so we had a couple drinks upstairs while the opening act, Morgan Delt, played before heading downstairs during the set break. I decided that the inside of The Hub was pretty nice, albeit small. I had no problem with the venue being small, but I was worried that it was going to be packed. Fortunately, it never got packed, and we got pretty close to the stage – which made me very happy!

Having seen TFL play twice before, I had some expectations. Both of the previous shows I had seen involved a pretty epic intro, but this time the band members just casually walked out on stage to begin.  I found that to be pretty disappointing because the intro had been one of my favorite parts of their shows in the past. In previous shows a track would play, exciting visuals would come on screen – I think I remember brightly contrasting nude silhouettes of ladies running and dancing around on screen, followed by one of them laying down, legs spread apart and a door opening from where her vagina would be. The band members would then walk of said vagina one at a time by way of the door in the video screen. The other show I went to featured an eyeball instead of lady parts – with TFL walking out of a door in the pupil.

the flaming lipsIntro aside, there were many aspects of the show that impressed me. They played a few of my favorite songs – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1,” “She Don’t Use Jelly,” “Do you Realize?” and covered “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I absolutely adore “Do you Realize?” and feel emotionally moved by it every time I hear it. The song “Look… The Sun is Rising” was paired with a visually stimulating stage performance. I hadn’t seen it performed in the past, and it really struck a chord. Wayne stood on top of an L.E.D. illuminated cube while cradling an infant doll and singing. The lyrics, at least to me, spoke about the fear of love and being brainwashed into making decisions about how to love. The stringy L.E.D. lights that hung from the ceiling of the stage alternated quickly between red and blue, Wayne held the baby and caressed its forehead, and the impression that I got about the performance as a whole was that it was to point out so many of the dichotomies that we observe in life. Some of which are very basic and some that are abstract. A few of the examples I thought of were: young/old, gentle/abrasive, red/blue, dark/light, love/fear(hate), free will/societal expectations, and independence/gov’t agendas… Maybe my brain was just searching for greater meaning in a superficial conglomerate of exciting visuals – but The Flaming Lips are great performers who got me thinking on a different level during their show, and I love that about them. I cherish the music they create, the theatrics of their stage presence, and I highly recommend you buy tickets the next time they are in town.

 

Article by Christy Berg

Photos by Christy Berg

 

Jul 18

Flaming Lips @ First Avenue 7/15/14

Why I Haven’t Given Up On The Flaming Lips

Right from the day of the announcement I had reservations about The Flaming Lips at First Avenue. In fact, as dumb as it now sounds, I had actually planned on not going. If any of you follow front man Wayne Coyne on any sort of social media, you may have thought the same thing as me; Wayne is being a mid-life crisis asshole and the entire band has fallen off their rockers what with the stuff they’ve been doing with Miley Cyrus and all. Those are the downfalls of putting yourself out there in this day and age. Any type of negative news will spread like wildfire, and more than likely be blown out of proportion.CameraZOOM-20140715234704434

There are many words that describe the Flaming Lips, but stagnant and cliché are not two of them. I believe there’s a tipping point at which a bands catalogue allows them free reign to do whatever they want without any backlash from fans and critics and the Flaming Lips have most certainly reached that point, though it took a while for me to come to terms with this. Our personal opinions of the “material” the Lips have been putting out recently is inconsequential, the real point is that they continuously dive deeper into that psychedelic rabbit hole – which is exactly what they’ve done.

I’m so thankful my home girl Mar Mar Superstar was determined to see them. It really didn’t take that much convincing to get me to change my mind and start scouring craigslist for tickets. And why not? These guys have been one of my favorite bands for a decade plus. Heck, I have them to thank for getting me to the little slice of heaven known as Bonnaroo for the very first time in 2010. Forgetting all else they’ve done in my personal life; I am deeply indebted to them just for that. The way I saw it, this show was either going to be a ‘farewell Lips’ show or a ‘double down, affirmation of why I’m a fan’ show. Turns out the F-lips are most definitely still legit.

First Avenue is the smallest venue the Lips have played in the Twin Cities since their last Mainroom show back in 1998. I thought it an interesting decision (and I have no idea who decided) to downsize the venue they booked at this point in their career. You don’t get to see this band play small venues all that often anymore, these days they prefer playing festivals, so a small show is rather special thing. Though they ‘scaled down’ their setup to accommodate the smaller stage it was still overflowing with musicians, light ropes, LED screens and even a giant moving rainbow. I’d venture to guess this was the most insane psychedelic spectacle that First Ave has ever seen in its entire existence.
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“The Abandoned Hospital Ship” was an interesting choice to start off the set. I’ve seen the Lips close to a dozen times and I’ve never seen Wayne hold an instrument that I could tell, with 100% irrefutable certainty, he was playing. This time he led with electric guitar as the rest of the band joined in a massive outpouring of sound while, in true Flaming Lips fashion, smoke and confetti billowed out from the stage for what seemed like minutes, encompassing everything. Being indoors where the wind couldn’t carry away the smoke and confetti just added to the awesomeness. What an absolutely spectacular way to start the show. I thought it to be impossible not to be overtaken with some amount of giddiness and joy; though judging by the faces and body language of the couple squashed up next to me, I guess I was wrong (though they seemed determined not to have any fun during the whole show; a sentiment not indicative of the rest of the crowd).CameraZOOM-20140715231516340

Wayne appeared to be having a gay old time decked out in a full body muscle suit. It didn’t take long for him to don a shiny silver cape, very similar to what Steven Drozd (guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, vocalist, drummer) had on himself, whilst waving around more shiny silver stuff in the air. It took me a while to realize there were even shiny silver tassels dangling between his legs covering a would-be penis; a sight that I couldn’t help but giggle at. The rest of the band was focused intensely on their instruments leaving Wayne to deal with all front man duties.

I don’t envision many people could ask for a better setlist that they didn’t have a hand in selecting themselves. The 14 song set spanned multiple albums hitting three tracks from both classics The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Both Mar Mar Superstar and I were ecstatic that “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1″ was performed at regular speed! Over the last decade I may have seen that once, otherwise it’s always a slowed down sing along version that has Wayne shouting “Come on motherfuckers! Come on! You gotta sing this one!” multiple times throughout. The interruption this time, starting the first verse over because not enough people participated in the karate chop during “she’s a black belt in karate…..HEY! HEY!” was a welcome change. The rest of the song was nothing but pure bliss.CameraZOOM-20140715232709771 - Copy

The most unexpected selection of the evening had to be the “Golden Path” which is actually a Chemical Brothers song featuring the Flaming Lips. I have to assume the stagnation I observed in the crowd stemmed from unfamiliarity. I refuse to believe that Flaming Lips fans could just flat out not like that song. It was during this song I first realized that the band was adding extended jams to most of their tracks, sometimes going on an extra riff for minutes at a time. As a huge Chemical Brothers fan I have to say I could not have been happier.

As much as the extended jams brought new life to old songs, even more so could be said about the lighting setup. The stage and rafters were draped with white, spaghetti/dreadlock looking rope lights that produced more colors and patterns than you might originally think possible. Anything from ‘rain’ like effects to color bursts, to color worms moved back and forth through the tubes. Have you ever bought, or even looked at the price of, those ‘Icicle’ Christmas lights? Not cheap. Each strand of rope is like those icicle lights x1,000. I can only imagine the enormous price tag associated with that setup.

The epitome of the visual experience came during the song I like to call “Redblueredblueredblueredblue” otherwise known as “Look…the Sun is Rising.” It is a very trippy, droning track off The Terror that I didn’t think too much of before this show. It started with some of the lights, but as the track progressed, every single light producing item from the rafters to the ropes crawling off the side of the stage, lighting up in sync alternating 20140715_225109between red and blue. The visual effect was nearly disorienting by itself and when you mix it with the music the Lips did…well it made for one of the single most “what is going on?” tracks I’ve ever seen them perform.

The whole evening kept offering up pleasant surprises. Wayne switched things up by doing his infamous hamster ball crowd walk during “Vein of Stars” but this time he took a wireless microphone with him. He sang a verse in the middle of the crowd while standing on a box that had been sitting in the crowd the entire night. Steven (one of my all-time favorite drummers) even picked up the sticks for the first time I’ve seen and banged on some skins for (if I’m remembering correctly) “Race for the Prize.” Even Wayne’s declaration of acknowledgement that the Flaming Lips have the best fans of any band in the entire world felt more genuine and relevant than at past shows. There was nearly never a dull moment.

Overall the performance was one of the tightest I’ve seen from the Flaming Lips. With all the news, gossip, and allegations surrounding the band the last couple years, I was expecting them to be a bit sloppy, Wayne to be not cool, or the entire show to be less fu20140715_223348n in one way another. Turns out it was the exact opposite. The band was extremely cohesive with each member focusing intently on their own duties. Wayne was not nearly as preachy as he has been come to be known for. We even met him at the Depot later in the night and he was nothing but energetic and nice. The songs of the evening were reworked where they needed to be, parts added here and there to improve every one as well as give every member a part to play. The lighting was top notch and in perfect taste with the image the Lips like to portray. This was not only the best Flaming Lips show I’ve seen to date, but also the best thing I have ever seen inside of First Avenue. If you’ve never seen this band live, they are an absolute must see group. If you’re a fan whose confidence in the band is waning, I’m here to assure you, the Flaming Lips ARE off their rockers and I’ll be damned if they aren’t better than they’ve ever been.

Setlist
1. The Abandoned Hospital Ship
2. She Don’t Use Jelly
3. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1
4. In the Morning of the Magicians
5. Golden Path
6. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
7. Race for the Prize
8. Vein of Stars (ball walk)
9. Look the Sun is Rising
10. The W.A.N.D.
11. Try to Explain
12. A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
13. Do You Realize
14. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

 

Article by: Eric Severson

Photos by: Eric Severson

 

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