Over the last 20 years The Flaming Lips have pushed and pulled, dibbed and dabbed and tooed and frowed between bizarre experiments (Zarieeka), mainstream soundtrack songs (Spongebob Squarepants) and near world domination (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) and after the kind of disappointing chug of 2006’s At War With the Mystics, The Lips are back with a space jam opus named Embryonic. Its a brave and intoxicating blend of Can at their funkiest and The Lips at their loosest. It’s a definite return to form and, as a double record, a complete up yours to that nagging question…
‘Is the LP dead?’
So then they gathered on their second night at The Troxy and, after ample screaming support from the amazing debut album riding Cymbals Eat Guitars and some Lips-esque freak out rock from fellow Oklahomian’s Star Death and the White Dwarfs, they sauntered on stage to help set up their own gear much to the whoops and hollers of a varied and jubilant crowd, filled with boys, girls, pink robots and people dressed as tigers.
Coyne’s health and safety warning which preceded the show, warning patrons at the front of stage that ‘the bubble’ was coming out, was open and charming and as the band was born through a ’strategically placed’ door in a silhouetted nymph on a 20ft LCD screen Coyne’s promise was fulfilled and out came the confetti and balloons. Confetti and balloons that never seemed to end.
Dipping into The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi enough to keep the casual fans happy, bantering about old bingo halls and yeti’s, the band laid out a set full of winners, even a raucous version of their incomprehensibly daft yet beautiful, breakthrough hit, She Don’t Use Jelly. Costumed Yeti’s and Yetiette’s danced at either side of stage, a man in a gorilla suit made a random appearance, green lasers shot out of every conceivable place, the amount of dazzle approached a ludicrous face melting level.
Even Coyne’s token ‘war is bad’ speech and bugle number couldn’t dampen the mood and as one of the best stage shows ever closed with the sublime Do You Realize? it made me ponder some of the best stage performances I’d ever seen… but, at that moment, and even later riding the DLR home, covered in confetti, I couldn’t even think of one.
The LP may be dying but thank god the live show aint.