Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Flaming Lips
The Electric Ballroom, London
April 1999

You always know you’re in for a treat when the Flaming Lips are in town. A Chinese gong dominates the stage, and a video camera projects Wayne Coyne’s magnified face onto a giant screen, giving the impression that he’s peering out over the room Big Brother style, though any thought-police aping intrusion into the crowd is replaced by a much more disturbing insight into the inner workings of the Lips’ collective head.

Other than perhaps Mercury Rev - always their most obvious of peers - the Lips are a unique proposition. They're a Utopian Beach Boys alone in a dysfunctional music industry, carving out the most touching of frazzled sounds, fusing harmony and heterogeneity, connecting with that little bit in all of us that craves a band capable of being genuinely extraordinary. In the same way that the feedback driven likes of ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ sit comfortably next to the soothingly plaintive ‘When You Smile’, the visuals are just as diverse, with studio-bound drummers and footage of small boys with red balloons running down black and white streets interspersed with assassinations and eye-ball surgery, leaving you safe in the knowledge that low-key events don’t come much bigger than this, and wishing that everything in life was as reliable as this bunch of slightly unusual Americans.