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Concert Review: The Flaming Lips and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Columbia MO, September 18, 2010

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If you get a chance to go to a Flaming Lips concert, do what you can to attend. There are few words that can describe the experience. You will see a great many things, including interesting people, and hear amazing music at the very least. They still have it, and their stage production is the best that I’ve seen. Yes the giant hamster ball was brought out, and yes it was awesome, but I digress.

The starting band was Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. I felt that they should have started with different songs, but after they warmed up, they were quite good. The lead singer belted out his lyrics over a very talented funk infused bassist. The lead singer armed with electronic noise and a suit of garish red and green (later found out to be bought here at Columbia by The Flaming Lips), took to the stage with a timid ferocity. Their amazingly long haired Asain bassist was a complete badass, cranking out some really danceable tunes along side of the electronic noise.

It’s important to note that it was quite hot at the time, so it was more of an issue of trying to stay cool rather than dance all out to the music.

Unfortunately after Ariel Pink finished their set, it started to drizzle and it wasn’t clear if The Flaming Lips were going to perform or not. Luckily the lead singer of the Lips came out and let everyone know that it was still on, as long as it didn’t start down pouring. Fortunately for us, it didn’t rain too much during the set. Unfortunately for us, it did start, and start hard, right after the show ended.

The stage was amazing, featuring a video screen the likes of which baffle the mind. It had the ability to display whatever was directly in front of the lead microphone, usually lead singer Wayne Coyne, two disco balls, and a ton of confetti. Snow blowers would shoot out loads of confetti and streamers, which complimented the music.

It was mind blowing how they melded stage performance with live music. From the two groups of people wearing orange Yo Gabba Gabba suits just dancing and singing along with the music, to the freakishly large snow blowers and floating confetti filled balloons, everything was done to enhance the experience. I was happy to see that they still enjoy their live shows. You could see the joyous expression on Wayne’s face as he started walking on top of the crowd in a huge inflatable hamster ball. It was quite easy to see where your ticket money went for this show.

Songs played by the Lips ranged from Embryonic to some of their earlier albums. The music seemed to be evenly split between heavy guitar laden riffs to the more exploratory concept music. It all was played well, with only minor downtime due to some equipment malfunction. Embrionic definitely was a main part of the act with its heavy guitars and straying on the edge of noise music.

It is interesting to note that though this concert was played downtown on a closed street, they still allowed some nude women in their animations. Nothing against it of course, but it was interesting to note, seeing as how some people are uptight about the whole nudity issue. The Lips set lasted quite a while (almost two hours by my watch) and definitely made it worth the ticket price to get in. You get some amazing imagry with some great music as well. SEE THEM IF YOU CAN!!!

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