A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr & Deerhoof, Alexandra Palace, 01/07/11

Earlier this month I was at Alexandra Palace to see The Flaming Lips perform The Soft Bulletin. It was a rather amazing gig. It is one of those albums that holds quite a special place in my heart. I have memories of listening to it at length in 1999/2000 whilst working in an uninspiring job after leaving university. This and Deserter's Songs by Mercury Rev really made quite a big impact on me at the time and arguably contributed to my desire to move to London to see more gigs.

Deerhoof played first, performing Milk Man in full and sounded fantastic. Satomi looked sensational and showed off some excellent choreographed dance moves. I think I may have tweeted that it was the best live show I had seen so far in 2011. Dinosaur Jr played Bug afterwards and were also very good (and very loud).

Before taking to the stage with the band, Wayne Coyne came on to introduce the album, delivering quite an emotional speech, saying how much it meant to them, prompting tears in some members of the crowd. When it came the entrance was pretty spectacular, each band member arriving on to the stage through psychedelic coloured eye on the semi circular video screen. After the penultimate band member came down the ramp, it was removed to reveal Wayne Coyne in his deflated space bubble which slowly began to inflate. He made one journey down the length of the venue and back before extricating himself from it and launching straight into Race For The Prize. I can't remember many other moments quite as euphoric and joyous, especially in the seconds after the opening drum beat. It genuinely felt like the entire crowd was jumping and singing along to it.

A Spoonful Weighs A Ton sounded great also (and featured the Teletubbies on the video screen). The Spark That Bled saw WC wear a giant pair of hands that projected coloured laser beams on the discoball above the stage which were then cast out over the hall. The lyrics to What Is The Light appeared on the video screen, another moment where the crowd significantly helped Wayne out on vocals. Waiting For A Superman was quite poignant, tonight cast as a plaintive piano ballad. The Gash saw a large gold gong wheeled on to the stage for Coyne to play. 

He spoke to the crowd frequently throughout which I didn't really mind at the time but clearly limited the time they had to play any other songs after completing the album. He encouraged the crowd throughout, quite often lovingly referring to us as 'motherfuckers'. For me it seemed like a genuine plea for support, a sign of endearing insecurity, especially during Slow Motion, which he said they had rarely played live before, and Feeling Yourself Disintegrate, which he suprisingly revealed to be the track he thinks is the worst on the album (he's wrong). The latter prompts another mass singalong from the crowd. A really moving moment. 

Visually it was a great show, coloured balloons, confetti and a set of backing vocalists on each side of the stage dressed as characters from The Wizard Of Oz. They came back on to play a wonderful, elongated version of Do You Realize? This show confirmed them as one of the best live bands around in my opinion. Even a protracted journey home from Alexandra Palace couldn't tarnish the night. Well done to ATP for organising such a magnificent show...

The following links have some excellent photographs of the concert...

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