Looking For a Spiritual Experience? Go to a Flaming Lips Show
August 17th, The Agora Theatre in Cleveland, OH. One of the greatest live performances is just two hours away. The crowd is full of conversations covering past shows by the legendary band The Flaming Lips. What do Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins, Steve Drozd and company have in store for this show? Will there be unicorns? Giant orbs? Rainbows? Infinite confetti? Yes, yes, yes and yes; plus much much more. There was still time before The Flaming Lips took the stage, and the audience was hyped, but that doesn’t mean that they were ready for the opening act: Le Butcherettes.
A heavy shrill shook through the microphone. A woman wearing feathers in a headband stood in front of a keyboard and synthesizer, red war paint streaked across her face matching the crimson color of her gown. Le Butcherettes is a Mexican garage punk band formed in 2007 in Guadalajara by lead singer Teri Gender Bender. I’ll be honest, when they first took the stage I was very nervous. After two songs I knew I would be along-term fan.
What happened over the next 45 minutes was a work of art. Thundering drums, filthy guitar riffs and pure energy brought the entire venue to attention. Teri Gender Bender has the stage presence that other musicians dream of. Think Gwar, mixed with No Doubt, a sprinkle of Paramore and a dash of Mastadon. I know, it’s hard to imagine; just trust me.
They closed with “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, and it was better than you can imagine. Crowd-surfing, high kicks, chill-inducing vocals and heart-pounding bass. This was the greatest opening act I have ever seen.
It took some time for the crowd to calm down from the energy storm left behind by Le Butcherettes. As soon as the place seemed to level out, The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne took the stage, a friendly wave followed by a blast of confetti bringing the energy back up. He took to the mic and explained, in the way only Wayne Coyne can, that they were very happy to be in Cleveland and were sorry they couldn’t have been there more often.
This was one of four extremely heartfelt speeches given by Wayne Coyne that night, but that’s not why the band was there. They were there to give people a night they would remember forever. The opening song was a build-up for the absolute beauty that was about to come. The second “Race for the Prize” started, the venue was filled with confetti and 6-foot balloons. I looked around the crowd, and there wasn’t a single face that wasn’t smiling ear to ear.
Wayne Coyne is the frontman to end all frontmen. His crowd interaction, playful presence and limitless love embody everything that the world needs. One of my favorite parts of a Flaming Lips show is how much you can tell they really love what they do. The entire band, especially Wayne Coyne, were constantly gleaming. Their love and energy feed the crowd. Even though I’ve seen this band three times in less than six months, I am still blown away by how spectacular an event they produce time and time again. Some of the best stage crew members in the business help make what seems impossible happen without issue every show.
They played all their hits and brought out some spectacular props. You don’t just go to a Flaming Lips show; you are part of it. You’re in it; you’re in the middle of some special with amazing people. The room is filled with love, with gratitude, and with acceptance; it’s beautiful; it’s perfect. I’m doing my best, but it’s not easy to describe in words what a Flaming Lips show is really like; the only way to know for sure is to experience one yourself. They still have seven US dates on their tour, some with Le Butcherettes, don’t miss out.
THE FLAMING LIPS
08/20 Metropolis | Montreal QC
08/21 State Theatre | Portland ME
08/22 The Strand Ballroom | Providence RI
08/24 Stage AE | Pittsburgh PA
08/26 Iroquois Amphitheater | Louisville KY
09/06 Hopscotch Music Festival | Raleigh NC
09/08 Governors Island – Colonel’s Row – OctFest | New York NY
10/06 Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum | Phoenix AZ
11/03 Benidorm Visor Fest | Benidorm ESP
11/09 Rolling Stone Weekender, Ferienpark | Wangels DEU
11/11 Melkweg | Amsterdam NLD
11/12 Rockhal | Esch-sur-alzette LUX
11/14 Alcatraz | Milan ITA
11/16 Rolling Stone Park | Europa-park DEU
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