Before I get all negative and crabby, let me start by saying that I did have fun last night at the Hollywood Bowl. That said, the Flaming Lips’ shtick felt really tired to me. Wayne Coyne trotted out the bubble, fake blood, mechanical bird, massive balloons and confetti (familiar to anyone who’s seen them over the past four years). The only major difference was that instead of furries, the stage was full of costumed Santas. It didn’t help that they played songs mostly off of their new album (a few from Yoshimi and maybe one from Soft Bulletin). The new album is the worst thing they’ve released since the 1980s. They’ve always been more about having a good time than actually giving great performances, but last night they just couldn’t hide behind the mediocre song selection and Wayne’s thrashed voice. Openers Os Mutantes sounded really good but it was hard to get in the mood at 7:00 PM when it’s 100 degrees outside (and the absence of Rita Lee was evident). Thievery Corporation was just awful, but most of the crowd seemed to enjoy it. The two main guys in the band stood in the back and acted like they were spinning records and/or queuing up music while the collection of musicians they assembled performed every world music cliché you can imagine. Tim Robbins’ character in High Fidelity would have loved it. Somewhat appropriately, Wayne and Steven came out for Thievery Corporation’s last song and immediately killed the crowd’s energy. I hate to admit it, but now that the Flaming Lips have fully embraced this hippie, jam crowd I don’t think I’ll be seeing them again. Of course if they ever put out another Soft Bulletin I reserve the right to change my mind. If you missed it, don’t worry because it was filmed for DVD release. Those guys really like to make money off their fans (multiple vinyl releases, limited edition cds, 5.1 dvd audio mixes, etc.).
Here’s what’s going on tonight:
The Clean Prophets @ Knitting Factory ($5) – Musically, I enjoyed their set last night at the Echo more than anything at the Bowl.
The Minders / Great Northern @ the Derby ($10) – Anglophiles and Elephant 6 members. Elliott Smith used to cover them too.
Darker My Love / Immaculate Machine @ Spaceland (Free) – Darker My Love continue their Monday night residency. Immaculate Machine features members of the New Pornographers (but not Carl Newman, Neko Case or Dan Bejar).
Jack Ingram @ the Whiskey – For the Texans. He’s on Toby Keith’s label and the All Music Guide claims he was influenced by Billy Ray Cyrus. I really doubt he was influenced by BRC.
The Ettes / The Oohlas @ the Echo (Free) – I haven’t heard either one of these bands.
Katie Melua @ the Troubadour ($15) – For the Norah Jones’ fans