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A month ago, Wayne Coyne tweeted the Wizard of Oz-themed picture to the left, saying The Flaming Lips had new costumes for their “stage freak dancers”. As is often the case, it wasn’t clear if Wayne was joking. And as (almost) always – no matter how wacky the idea may seem – he was serious…
Last night The Flaming Lips played Memphis in May’s Beale Street Festival (nevermind that it’s still April). Excepting two South American shows at the start of this month (Lollapalooza’s 20th year celebration in Chile and Estadio Geba in Buenos Aires, Argentina), Memphis was essential the first show in the Lips’ series of on/off tour dates that run through spring and summer 2011. Their orange stage gear was painted white with rainbows before their first gig of the year – Jack Daniels’ Superbowl Kick-Off at the Palladium Ballroom in Dallas (click for pictures of the redesigned gear from their next show, The Snow Ball Festival). Now the costumes have been made-over too. For the record, the progression has been: animal costumes, santas/aliens, tele-tubbies, yetis (or kittens? Emma Frosts?), Yo Gabba Gabba’s DJ Lance Rocks and now…
In the above picture – by memphis or die, click on it to enlarge – notice from right to left: dancing Dorothys, Michael Ivin’s (playing bass in the red T-shirt), and then two other guys between him and Wayne (center with bubble acoustic guitar): MGMT’s Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden (playing with what looks like a flugelhorn). Watch it – plus Andrew singing “Old Man River” with Wayne’s guitar backstage – in the video below:
Following-up Wayne’s suggestion from earlier in the day (via twitter, shown at top of page), The Flaming Lips covered “Kids” with its creators. Although this is the first time the two groups played together on stage, it was not the first time Coyne publically proposed a live collab with MGMT. Last June, Coyne told the British press he was trying to get the dynamic synth psych duo to join them at Glastonbury for set opener, “Worm Mountain” – as they do on the Lips’ studio version.
UPDATE: When this was originally posted on Saturday, April 30th – the morning after the Memphis in May gig – no video of the MGMT collab had surfaced on the web yet, just the above picture, which I’ve also put the left, zoomed in. This shot happened to be taken at the precise moment Andrew held Wayne Coyne’s auto-bugle to his face as if he was playing a real horn. Not being able to tell what it was he was holding from this photo – let alone hear if he was actually playing it – I mentioned above that it looks like flugelhorn, not that he played he one. Two days later, Monday, May 2, 2011, my post was copied by consequenceofsound, who jumbled what I reported in the process. In turn, deathandtaxesmag and others copied their post and their error. To be clear: Andrew did not play a flugelhorn, he merely toyed around for a few moments with Wayne Coyne’s auto-bugle ( ..if you’ve seen The Flaming Lips in the past few years you’ll recognize it from “Taps”, “Mountainside” and others – as in this picture). I merely suggested Andrew might have on Saturday morning (having only one, far-away picture to go on at the time), and by Saturday afternoon – once video and more pictures became available – it was clear this was not the case.
MGMT are the latest in a wide range of artists teamed with The Flaming Lips for their ongoing 2011 series of bizarre musical releases and events. Since mid-February, The Flaming Lips (or individual members) have played live with Sebedoh (watch here), Philip Glass (watch here) and Deerhoof (…here). They’ve also announced a special upcoming graveyard bell tower performance with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. In the studio they’ve recorded with Neon Indian (listen to the finished EP here), Brooklyn glitch hop experimenter Prefuse 73 (coming soon here, subscribe) and, just this week, Lightning Bolt. Additionally, Steven Drozd’s score for the documentary The Heart is a Drum Machine – released in January (though recorded years ago) – featured a collaboration with Pusicfer (aka Tool’s Maynard James Keenan), and Wayne Coyne sings on Teddybear’s “Crystal Meth Christian” – another earlier recorded project released this year.
The Flaming Lips were the opening night headliner of The Beale Street Festival’s Horseshoe Casino Stage, immediately preceded by MGMT (and before them Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra). B.o.B., Cake, Hubert Sumlin, Jason Mraz and the Stone Temple Pilots played other stages. Today’s line-up includes The New Pornographers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mumford and Sons, Macy Gray, Ludacris, Lucinda Williams, Ke$ha and John Mellancamp. Tomorrow’s scedule includes Gregg Allman, The Avett Brothers, Cee Lo Green, Betty Lavette and Wilco.
As for the Oz costumes, it’s possible they will tie into the Dark Side of the Moon shows The Flaming Lips play this summer – including one in Hollywood Forever Cemetery and another at Dave Matthew’s Caravan in Chiacgo. Since the late ’90s, The Flaming Lips have recurringly played Wizard of Oz tunes and Pink Floyd covers together.
memphisinmay.org “If Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore, at least she was surrounded by friends like The Scarecrow and The Tin Man — several times over. The 12-song set featured a compendium of The Lips’ new songs with a heavy emphasis on their most well-known classics — “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots”, “Race For The Prize” and “Do You Realize?”. The band was joined onstage by MGMT for a rendition of MGMT’s song “Kids”, and the Lips graciously dedicated their song “Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung” to Jody Stephens of Big Star (who was in attendance with his wife Diana).”
Besides the songs mentioned above, The Flaming Lips also played Embryonic highlights “Worm Mountain”, “See the Leaves” (with “Laser Hands”), “Ego’s Last Stand” (watch below) and others. Details are still being gathered on the rest of last night’s set. Given that just hours before taking the stage they announced their new Gummy Skull for sale on their website and released two related videos – one showing a gummy lobotomy, the other a majiruana-flavored-filled skull – it seems likely they discussed (Wayne likes to talk, you know) and/or played 2011 material. (UPDATE: apparently no 2011 songs were played)
With over an album’s worth of tracks released in the last 10 weeks, and a variety of new products on the market, their was an abundance of potential live debuts for The Flaming Lips to choose from…
..not to mention, songs from The Wizard of Oz…..
Check back later and follow twitter.com/FutureHeartDay for updates. If you were at the show, or otherwise have information from someone who was (especially if you have the setlist, banter topics or pictures of the costumes), please leave a comment below or tweet @FutureHeartDay.