The Flaming Lips Have a Ball at Ottawa Bluesfest

Flaming Lips
photo by Mike Bouchard

by Dave Barrett

Photos by: Mike Bouchard
(more photos)

To say that Wayne Coyne has a flair for the theatrical is like saying the Queen knows a little about hierarchy.

Before the Flaming Lips were slated to take to the stage, Wayne Coyne was out on the stage making last minute preparations as well as milking the audience's attention– smiling and waving to the crowd, Wayne seemed as happy as a child, shooting confetti out of confetti guns, testing smoke machines and checking out the gathering crowd.

When it was time for things to get rolling, the Lips showed that they know how to make an entrance. Some driving music started up and the giant video screen backdrop was filled with an image of a naked young woman dancing who eventually laid back and spread her legs apart to give birth to the band members. Not to be outdone though, Wayne's birth was more of a hatching; from within a giant transparent ball which he used to roll himself out into the crowd he emerged and things kicked off from there.

Costumes, confetti, smoke, balloons lent the show that feeling much like a carnival, and spacey psychedelic songwriting fit perfectly.  It'll be interesting to see what sort of legacy The Flaming Lips leave whenever it is that they pack it in, they certainly have enough notable songs to give to posterity but it'll be all the other elements that will be mentioned first and foremost. I dislike it when people say that such and such is a band that everyone should see sometime in their lives but I have no reservation saying that about the Lips.