Concert Reviews

Last Night: The Flaming Lips, Neon Indian and New Fumes at the Palladium Ballroom

The Flaming Lips, Neon Indian, New Fumes
February 3, 2011
Palladium Ballroom

Better than:
realizing that you have the most beautiful face.

In many regards, last night's performance from the Flaming Lips was exactly like the two previous ones we'd seen in the past year -- first at NX35 2020 and again at ACL 2010.

The stage set-up was the same and the set list largely culled from the same crop, The gimmicks, well, they were all there, too: The band entered the stage by passing through a door in their massive video screen, set to a video of a woman giving birth; frontman Wayne Coyne entered in his human-sized gerbil ball and walked on top of the crowd; he danced and sang from a perch atop a costume bear's shoulders; he donned giant hands that shot lasers out into the crowd; he banged his giant electric gong; he spoke spoke about having fun and appreciating the now.

And, of course, there was confetti. Tons of it.

The major differences in this show sprung from the fact that, like everything else happening in North Texas this weekend, this performance came tied to Super Bowl weekend -- which explains the power-packed bill, which also featured local products Neon Indian and New Fumes.

Neon Indian frontman Alan Palomo addressed this much toward the beginning of his band's set: "I never thought I'd open a show by asking you guys if you were stoked about the Super Bowl," he said with a laugh.

The crowd laughed with him, but despite a high-energy performance from the Denton expats, their main support performance fell flat for much of the room -- seemingly because this crowd, what with the show's $55 price tag, wasn't necessarily your normal Neon Indian audience.

This crowd, quite clearly, was here for the Lips -- and they didn't disappoint, delighting fans with heartfelt performances of "She Don't Use Jelly," "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Part 1," "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," and "Do You Realize??" among other favorites.

In short: This Flaming Lips concert was like every other Flaming Lips concert -- 90 minutes of sensory overload and euphoria. Coupled with a pristine, loud sound mix, it made for a powerful combo -- even if this crowd, still, lacked some energy.

Perhaps this was simply a crowd unaware of what to expect, and, in turn, blown away by this display. Or, more likely, it was a matter of this crowd featuring a slew of Super Bowl hangers-on simply looking for something to do.

It didn't take away from the performance, no -- but it was palpable. Can't blame Coyne and Co. for that much, though: Their aim was true.

So, too, was opening act New Fumes' performance, which especially seemed to go over the audiences' heads, with local musician Daniel Huffman's instrumental psych-pop jams bobbing a few heads, but similarly never gaining much traction despite sounding especially large and impressive on the Palladium soundsystem.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
This was my fourth Flaming Lips show and my third in the past 12 months -- and not by accident. For my money, they're the best live band around -- and well worth going out of your way to witness.

Random Note:
Alan Palomo made mention of his and the Flaming Lips' upcoming collaborations -- even hinting that it could lead to more than one future song. Said Palomo: "Expect a couple crazy, freaky tracks."

By The Way: I ran into Neon Indian synth player Leanne Macomber after Neon Indian's set. She told me she'd be in town for the next ten days or so, recording new Fight Bite material.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman