Live Reviews

The Flaming Lips – live

The Flaming Lips
The Troxy, London
Tuesday 10th February

The Flaming Lips have always known how to make an entrance. Despite their usual habit of wondering around the stage to test their own gear (the Lips don’t do roadies), when they do finally re-emerge, it’s nothing short of spectacular!

Picture the scene, behind the band is a huge video screen – a naked woman dances around on the film. She stops dancing, lays down on her back, opens her legs. A pulsating light throbs between her thighs and gets larger and brighter and more intense. Then the band emerge one by one from between her legs. It’s the re-birth of The Flaming Lips. An apt start considering the musical tangent their latest album ‘Embryonic’ takes. A new start for the Lips. A much darker, more psychedelic kraut rock influenced sound where much of tonight’s set is drawn from.

As the band kick into ‘Race For The Price’, the opening track from their 1999 breakthrough album ‘Soft Bulletin’, they unleash their now traditional barrage of balloons, streamers, confetti and smoke and the venue quickly resembles the greatest party you’ve ever been too. It’s not long before frontman Wayne Coyne is rolling across the crowd in his huge see-through balloon.

Those who thought they may have seen the last of Wayne’s journeys across the crowd in a big hamster ball can think again! Coyne obviously has far too much fun doing it to stop. In fact, throughout tonight’s set, you begin to realise that a man in his mid-40s should really not be having this much of a good time. Wayne Coyne has the most fun in the world, ever. It’s official.

In many ways, the darker nature of much of the new material is at odds with the uplifting party atmosphere of the stage show and props. Tracks like ‘Convinced Of The Hex’, ‘Silver Trembling Hands’ and ‘Evil’ throb and pulsate with a twisted menace that conflicts with the people dressed as fluffy lambs on either side of the stage! Crossfire buddy Martyn Thomas (and the person responsible for the onstage photos you see with this review) managed to be one of the lambs to Flaming Lips slaughter. “I have wanted to see them live for nine years and have never had the chance so this was my first Flaming Lips gig and I was in at the deep end,” says Martyn. “I felt like a virgin walking into an orgy and being told ‘this is your introduction to sex’! Front of stage, dressed as a Yeti, for one of my all time favorite bands! I danced my fucking ass off!.”

Yes. Martyn’s a lucky bastard and got the best ticket in the house. And when the band finish the set with the glorious ‘Do You Realize’ you can’t help but feel that, even after all of these years, The Flaming Lips are still one of the most creative and inspiring bands out there. That Martyn really is a lucky bastard.

James Sherry