Monday, 4 August 2014

Memories of a thousand* gigs #27

(* probably not actually that many, but who’s counting?)

#27: The Flaming Lips
Cardiff International Arena - 26th October 2003
Support: Clinic
Also in attendance: MrsRobster

A singing nun glove puppet, ticker tape and balloons, the singer being passed across the crowd in a giant inflatable ball – I mean this is awesome stuff, right? How to make a rock concert spectacular, theatrical; how to go that extra mile? It is typical of Flaming Lips to redefine the rock concert, but this show marked a turning point in my affections for them. Put aside all the props and stunts, and what I got is a show that not only frustrated me, but annoyed me too. What I got was Wayne Coyne, egomaniac, making me actually dislike him by prattling inanely between songs for what seemed like an eternity. Quite frankly, I don’t give a shit about what a rock star thinks of the situation in Iraq (or ‘eye-reck’ as Coyne insisted on pronouncing it), I didn’t go there to be preached at. Fine, make your point mate, but then shut up and play. 

And when they did play? Well, they opened with a pretty decent rendition of Race For The Prize which was let down only by Coyne’s rather limited vocal abilities. From there on in it was downhill all the way. The band was onstage for about an hour and a half, but they probably only played 45-50 minutes of music. Each minute that went by, I got the impression that Wayne Coyne was disappearing further and further up his own backside. It soon became clear that the floorshow merely disguised the fact that, a couple of exceptional albums aside, Flaming Lips really are not that good. Since this show, they have made some terrible records bordering on the unlistenable, carried out a series of *yawn* bizarre promotional stunts (24-hour song, anyone? No? Don’t blame you…), and are currently hanging out with Miley fucking Cyrus.

MrsRobster, who now gets rather irritated at the mere sound of Wayne Coyne’s voice, reaches for the off button every time she hears the Flaming Lips. Well, it saves me a job…

(For the record, the pix here were not taken at the Cardiff show I describe, but at festival shows from the last couple of years. Yes, they're still peddling the same gimmicks, and Coyne's still wearing the same suit!)


Race For The Prize [live] – The Flaming Lips (live at Summer Sonic '09, Tokyo)

1 comment:

  1. You're spot on, surely we go to listen to the music, although with Billy Bragg you get a lot of talking, but I sem to recall it is quite brief and pertinent. As for the Flaming Lips, never liked them.