Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Flaming Lips at SXSW (aka possibly the best show I've ever been to)

The concert I was most excited about at SXSW actually was not part of the music festival (though I will add that I didn't see a single bad show at the music festival and still had tons of fun). But I've been dying to see the Flaming Lips forever and this show was for free, as a SXSW Interactive party thrown by Spredfast & Viacom Velocity.

I was not at SXSW as press this year because going was a rather last minute decision but thanks to some kind strangers I got a kickass spot right up against the barrier. Future Islands opened, and I ended up loving them. I didn't realize they are based just an hour away from me in Baltimore! And I was most impressed with lead singer Samuel Herring's ability to dance and dance and dance and dance while singing for what was a pretty long set. They put on a fantastic, entertaining show.

I wish I had more to say about Future Islands honestly but even their show paled in comparison to the Flaming Lips. The Flaming Lips are known for their epic shows, and sure enough, this show had everything I ever wanted out of a show, plus a lot of stuff I didn't realize I wanted. For starters, there were giant dancing mushrooms and a giant dancing rainbow on stage for a majority of the show. They were later joined/replaced by two inch-worms wearing a crown (one of which wouldn't stay inflated) and a smiling sun.

The light show was overwhelming (in the best way) and there were shiny things dangling everywhere on stage - light ropes from the ceiling, confetti from frontman Wayne Coyne's microphone, neon fuzzy balls dangling from his... pants (which were also shiny)...


There were tons of giant balloons dropped from above into the audience, there was confetti that Coyne shot into the audience, and later in the show he literally got into a giant clear ball and rolled out into the audience.

And of course, there were sing-a-longs. I often forget that Do You Realize is even by the Flaming Lips because it's definitely not my favorite of theirs (though it's a great song). But singing along to this song, with the band and the whole audience, with everything else going on, was just a magical fucking moment. One of those transcendent musical moments that is truly spiritual - where you feel connected to everyone and you're filled with joy and, well, love.

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