It’s Crazy Hot with the Flaming Lips Psychedelic Summer Tour in Raleigh
By: Shumara Thomas
What do you do when you’re the iconic rock band Flaming Lips and you decide to go on a summer tour? You go even more iconic by bringing along two bands with an undeniable musical connection, three psychedelic rock bands giving us summer madness in this heat.
This summer the Flaming Lips decided to tour with the Claypool Lennon Delirium and Particle Kid across the US and overseas. Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh was lucky enough to get the chance to see such a dope show and Shutter16 was there to make sure we caught every moment. First artist of the night is Particle Kid aka Micah Nelson, a singer songwriter with built-in notoriety even though he started out like most, recording in his bedroom. Not only is he the son of legendary artist Willie Nelson, he’s a member of Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real, a country rock band that backs up Neil Young as well. Does it get more iconic? Don’t answer that just yet.
His evolution of sound is apparent in the lead single from his July release Window Rock, "Stroboscopic Light." Tumultuous visuals aside, the song is well-produced, starting off wrapped in a whirlwind that brings you onto smoother rock pastures as it continues. A favorite of mine is the dark fantasy that is "Variac" with its carnival piano and echoed trippy vocals. It's an entire mood that's still psych-rock but with a slowed vibe that is a great change in direction.
The second act of the night was The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Another psych-rock band full of musical legacy, consisting of duo bassist Les Claypool and singer/guitarist Sean Lennon, son of the Beatles' John Lennon. You can't really get more iconic than that? We warned you, it can always get better when music is involved. They actually had a pretty long set, over an hour but I didn't see anyone complaining. Getting to hear tracks like "Blood And Rockets: Movement I, Saga Of Jack Parsons", and a cover of "The Court of Crimson King" made it worth it. I usually don't dig it when bands do covers because while I appreciate the nod to the original performers, bands don't always do the songs they pick justice. There's nothing worse than hearing someone tear apart your favorite song but I enjoyed the mix of covers and original material because they did such a dope job. Outside the venue gates people were walking downtown and I saw several people grooving, then stop to ask who was playing or attempting to Shazam their songs. For a lengthy set, where a band can easily get lost working those minutes, Claypool Lennon Delirium held the crowd until the very end.
So I'll try not to sound like an utter and complete fangirl over Flaming Lips but that's pretty much a losing battle. Flaming Lips is why I got into psychedelic rock. You can't compare that moment to anything, listening to the band that first introduced you to a genre of music. Flaming Lips is my Outkast. Outkast sounds and feels brand new to me every single listen even though I've played their albums a million times. Flaming Lips does the same for me. I know what to expect but I get giddy every time I see them performing.
It's the entire production: the music, the confetti, the balloons, the over-the-top pageantry. You can't help but feel insanely joyous at a Flaming Lips show. Whether it's listening to "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" or watching in awe as Wayne Coyne dramatically poses in front of a symphony of lights as the band covers the "Star-Spangled Banner." It’s a show full of dramatics and great music. I can't think of anything better. Shout out to the amazing keyboardist/guitarist Jake Ingalls who is always so damn nice during the show.
He always purposefully gives me a dope pose or face, and will try to give the photogs a heads up when a moment to get the best shots is approaching. On a professional level, he's my frigging MVP on top of being a great musician. Just yet another reason why Flaming Lips is such a dope band.
The show continues with mostly overseas dates left but you've still got time to end your summer properly. Be sure to check out the dates and cop your tickets while you can.
Catch this tour:
08-30 La Tour-De-Peilz, Switzerland - Nox Orae 2019
09-01 Prato, Italy - Piazza Duomo
09-05 Edinburgh, Scotland - Usher Hall
09-06 Manchester, England - Manchester Academy
09-07 London, England - O2 Brixton Academy
09-20 Louisville, Kentucky - Bourbon & Beyond Festival