Monday, July 24, 2006

Flaming Lips, Thievery Corporation, Os Mutantes - Hollywood Bowl 7/23

I kid you not, it was 116 degrees where I live yesterday afternoon. I put my vinyl and my cats in front of a fan and prayed both would not melt. So going to an open aired venue at night seemed a bit risky, as in thousands of sweaty people in contained space risky, but it all worked out. Still its weird when 90 degrees feels like a cool down.

Ok so first thing I have to say about this show, other than I missed Mutantes due to some will-call shenanigans, is that I failed to consider one thing while attending: massive amounts of pot smoke. I don't know why this didn't occur to me given the line up and venue, but there was literally a cloud overhead. I don't smoke pot, and am not a real fan of the "aroma" so that was kind of lame. But honestly I should have known better, so no one to blame but myself.

Thievery Corporation was, well, Thievery Corporation. I have never minded the band, especially as something to have on in the background while at work, but I can not see how people are passionate about this band. It is downtempo, unobjectionable psuedo-world music. Neither here nor there. But as mentioned above there was a lot of pot going around so the crown loved them. Lots of aging hipsters working up a tremendous sweat. Wayne from the Lips joined them for their last song and as soon as he started singing I though 'uh oh'. His voice sounded horrible. I mean shredded vocal chords bad. I had noticed that the vocals on the new album were different, and figured he was changing things up, but now I am wondering if he seriously had ruined his voice before the album. It was that bad.

(Sidebar: Pacey from Dawson's Creek was sitting by us. Our seats were not good which led to this conversation.

Wife: Geez, couldn't he get better seats?
Me: What was the last thing you saw him in?
Wife: good point)

The Lips actual performance was good, if not really short. Headliners at the Bowl can go over two hours, but the Lips were gone after no more than an hour, maybe an hour fifteen. It was announced the show was being filmed for a live DVD, and the band was constantly asking the crowd to be louder or more active. That's no fun. It was like going to a Dodger came and having the scoreboard tell you to cheer. I was going to a concert, not attenting a taping of Letterman. Please don't prompt me.

The set was 60% new album, 39% Yoshimi, and one Soft Bulletin song thrown in. Expected, but i wish they had thrown some older stuff in. Wayne's voice got a little better as the night went on, but never sounded great. I would not be surprised if when the DVD comes out they lay better vocals over the whole thing.

As usual they had the dancers in Santa outfits, Martians, the giant screen, Wayne in a giant bubble; the usual Flaming Lips concert experience. Hilariously they handed out about 30,000 glow sticks to people before the show. Perhaps concerned that they would be thrown around the entire time, Wayne goaded the audience into throwing them forward at a particular point.

Thanks Wayne. Those fuckers hurt when they hit you in the back of your head. Plus the move backfired as instead of throwing them on the stage people just threw them in every direction for the rest of the show. I must say it was pretty fun to see a billion of them flying through the night.

Overall a good show, even if I felt a little short changed by the band pandering to the DVD audience instead of the crowd that paid to see them. At this point the Lips are showmen more than anything and they gave me what i expected: a warped broadway revue with better tunes.