No Art Murmur this past Friday for me… we had tickets to The Flaming Lips at the Fox and wanted to check out the opening bands, which were actually pretty fantastic. First up was Thee Oh Sees with a blend of rock-a-billy garage pop that at times reminded me of punk bluegrass… They totally rocked, and their drummer actually performed a pretty sweet drum solo, which I can safely say, in the hundreds of shows I’ve seen over the years, I have never seen an opening band do. Very cool.
Next up was Ariel Pink‘s Haunted Graffiti. Known for his impressive soprano, this guy (dressed extremely androgynously) could shriek an 80’s metal vocal like I’ve never seen. This band rocked. Period. As my partner in crime suggested… Frank Zappa, but gay. And I mean that in the best way possible. It was awesome!
Of course The Flaming Lips never disappoint. Their shows are more performance art than concerts and though their bag of tricks is heavily recycled, it somehow never gets old. I think I’ve seen this band about 5 times and I’m always surprised how they come out full throttle for the first song of the evening, giant balloons, confetti sprayed to the rafters, costumed dancers on stage, Wayne in his space bubble surfing the crowd… you have to wonder where they’ll take it from there (did they just blow their whole wad on the first song?!?) But somehow they manage to sustain and surpass, every time. Highlight for me was the nearly 3000 audience members all singing Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 at the top of their lungs. Pure magic.
Sunday we caught Arcade Fire with opening band Calexico at the Greek Theater in Berkeley… these guys are the real deal. And though I’ve seen Calexico before and always enjoyed their shows immensely (I just love the harmonic horns in their Tex-Mex styled tunes), this show was all about Arcade Fire for me. You sort of wonder how they’re going to pull off the complexity of their studio albums live, but incredibly they do, not to mention the fact that nearly every member of the band plays like three different instruments, amazingly. It was a fantastic show.